BACKSTORIES / Beautiful Confusion Collective: Becka McFadden & Scheherazaad Cooper

What’s hidden behind us? And what do we reveal when we walk away?
performance length: 50 min
no language barrier
PREMIERE! Two people. A bar stool. A park bench. An apartment. Muscle memory, past and present, all viewed from behind. What stories does the back tell of who we are, what we know, and where
we've been? What secrets does the spine whisper, what weight do the shoulders carry? BackStories invites you to consider what you hide behind you and what you reveal when you walk away. BackStories is a new dance/theatre performance piece conceived, created and performed by Scheherazaad Cooper and Becka McFadden. Through a series of solos and duets, we journey into the expressivity of the back.

„In fiction, backstory is about how a character gets to be like that, or does that, whatever the that of the story is. In real life, it’s more how each of us can be fathomed, can be understood, can be contextualized, can be tracked, how our bodily reactions and inner thoughts penetrate our actions, our gestures, our tone - right now, in this moment.

Backstory is of course about time, time past, what is behind us and what we carry with us. Remnants, vestiges of habits, rituals, mementos as much as memories, crucial moments, scars, wounds, phobias and history. All of the remnants, through time and, also, through space. Like a territory. Like a hinterland. Our territory. Our hinterland.

What a world backstory is – versions and inversions of time and spatiality, things, memories and all in constant motion. In BackStories we invert the face to face.“

Mary Ann Hushlak, dramaturgy of BackStories

Becka McFadden
is a performer, dramaturg and director. Originally from Pennsylvania, she has been based in London since 2007 and has also worked in the Czech Republic and Poland. She is associate artistic director of Legal Aliens ITC and has collaborated with UK and international companies including Theatre Lab Company, Parrabbola, Goossun Art-illery, Divadlo Letí, The Counter Institute, Thrust, Deborah Nash Productions and Cornucopia. She holds an MA in Theatre from Villanova University and a PhD in Theatre & Performance from Goldsmiths, University of London. She has taught at Goldsmiths and The Actors Centre and currently teaches acting and devising at University of St. Markand St. John. She is currently lead artist for the Theatre Development Studio at the pop-up Hornsey Town Hall Arts Centre in North London.
Twitter: @BeckaMcF

Scheherazaad Cooper
is an Odissi classical Indian dancer who has performed in Canada, the United States, India, the UK, the Czech Republic and Australia. She is also atrained actor and Artistic Director of the Interregnum V Dance Collective, whose premier work, Embodied Language, debuted in the Resolution! festival and The Place (London). She holds a PhD in sociology of performance from Goldsmiths, University of London and has taught dance aesthetics and performance studies at Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, CA) and Goldsmiths.

Mary Ann Hushlak (dramaturgy) is a writer and dance/performance dramaturg with a cross-media practice. Recent projects include collaborations as dramaturg with Qasim Riza Shaheen (One and Misplaced Memoirs, also co-editing essays/reflections for publication on the artist), Lizzi Kew Ross (Reading with Bach and Without Warning), Athina Vahla, Darren Ellis Dance, Freddie Opoku-Addaie, squib-box, Fred Gehrig, Olga Masleinnikova and Jia-YuCorti. Curatorial work includes “Five Hundred Years On – A WalkingReading Group of Machiavelli’s The Prince (with Bram Arnold and Mary Jane Edwards) as part of Machiavelli, Interpreted (Artangel100) and, in development also with Mary Jane Edwards, “it all starts with a book”, a reading meets performance event. Her Think Dramaturgy, a modular teaching workshop, will go live in spring 2015, Artstrust as producer.

Beautiful Confusion Collective is a newly formed collaboration between Scheherazaad Cooper, Becka McFadden and associate artists. It is the successor organisation to Interregnum V Dance Collective, founded by Cooper in 2008 and Beautiful Confusion Productions, founded by McFadden in 2004. Beautiful Confusion Collective makes international, interdisciplinary, performer-driven work in which physical expressivity is the primary carrier of meaning. We draw inspiration from the body and the sociocultural terrains through which it moves.

Created, devised and performed by: Scheherazaad Cooper & Becka McFadden
Dramaturgy by: Mary Ann Hushlak
Produced by: Beautiful Confusion Collective
Principle Photography & Videography: John Watts
Production Assistants: Giulia Damiani, Paul Wade
Supported by: Arts Council England; Canada Council for the Arts; Goldsmiths University of London; University of St. Mark & St. John, Plymouth; University of Roehampton, London, Motus, producers of the Alfred ve dvoře Theatre

Special thanks to: Vyrsodepseio (Athens, Greece); Cooltour (Ostrava, Czech Republic); Jessica Condon; Vahid Evazzadeh; Ron Herrema; Ann McFadden; Tilemachos Moussas