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Pepper's Ghost
Thomas Hall

Commissioned by the Cutting Room and Nottingham Playhouse for NEAT 11. Kindly supported by the Arts Council of England.

Pepper's Ghost pays homage to theatre and its illusion. Based upon the Victorian theatrical special effect of 'Pepper's Ghost', this new work playfully recontextualises lines from a variety of scripts taken from the past 3000 years of theatre. A unique 'play' is generated then performed and never repeated, often with comical effect.

We on a daily basis hear rolling news terms and expressions such as ‘the theatre of war’ or ‘the performance of the pound’. So with this use of
language continually entering our lives, what is the experience of going to a place that is called a ‘theatre’?

In many instances, the audience are placed in a darkened room, and for the duration of the performance, their focus is that of the narrative presented to them on that stage with no contact with the outside world. I considered the notion of theatricality and it’s interaction with the
audience. For me, this interaction came down to a more cerebral one, as opposed to any form of physical intervention (with the exception of
pantomime).

At this point I decided to change my approach to the work, from being something that the viewer could change the outcome of, to that of a more
‘presented narrative’ mirroring that of a live theatrical experience. From the viewer’s perspective, it was a passive experience, but a unique one to that point in time they viewed the work, as the ‘mini-plays’ were generated
through means of randomizing the text and it’s delivery. No two ‘performances’ within the work were, or will ever be, the same.

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