An award-winning theatre-concert about memory loss, legacy and myth performed by an international supergroup of musicians. An extraordinary exploration of what it is to lose the memories that make us who we are and the stories that connect them. From ancient mythology to family legacy, what remains each time we turn to look back? Original songs, live sound-processing and personal recordings bring light to the experience of living and dying with dementia and the imprints that outlast us. STYX is in Edinburgh for the month of August, and Second Body spoke with The Fountain about the show.
TF: You are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, how exciting?
Yeah! We’re thrilled to be bringing a show we made out in Australia back to the UK, and to be doing so at our favourite festival in the world. For the Australian artists in particular, the Edinburgh Fringe is incredibly exciting because it will be most of the company’s virgin voyage.
TF: STYX certainly sounds intriguing, what is the premise?
STYX is a show about family, myth and memory loss, which tells the true story of a grandmother and grandson piecing together the memories that connect them across time. Last year Max decided to record a series of interviews with his grandmother who had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. These interviews revealed a number of coincidences between their lives which became the basis for the show. With the help of Jethro, Max’s sister Addison, and the band STYX recounts this journey with live music, story-telling and neuroscience to help bring light to the experience of living and dying with dementia.
TF: And what drove the project, where did your influences lie?
STYX is the first production from our new theatre company, Second Body, which we founded out of a mutual interest in combining live music, theatre and storytelling with the science behind some of our most fundamental preconceptions.
The inspiration for the show itself came about by chance – last year Max was in Australia working with his sister Addison Axe (front woman of Australian punk band Axe Girl) and a group of musicians on a series of songs that he had previously written as a retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth. In the same year Max and Addison’s grandmother Flora was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s so he started recording the interviews with her which revealed that she and her husband Mike had started a music club in their twenties called the Orpheus Club.
That coincidence was the first of many that illustrated how powerful music can be at connecting people across generations and bringing back faded memories, which is something science is only just beginning to uncover more and more about.
We are unbelievably excited to also be working with the same band of musicians that were playing the songs in Australia. Addison has pulled together a group of incredible artists from Jebediah, The Tommyhawks, Axe Girl and The Love Junkies, each with their own influences, who bring a whole new dimension to the show.
TF: What are your plans for the Fringe, having been before are there any tips or musts you would offer to first-time performers?
Our plan is to take in as much as we can – there’s nowhere like the Edinburgh Fringe for the sheer number of incredible shows. We’re really looking forward to discovering a whole load of new work, but a hot tip for something we know to be brilliant is Breach’s It’s True, It’s True, It’s True, which will be there as part of the British Council showcase. Mainly we’re really looking forward to connecting with audiences and other artists over a subject that touches a lot of people’s lives.
We’ll also be taking care of ourselves. As everyone who’s taken a show up to Edinburgh knows, it can take a toll on your mental and physical health. If you’re at the festival for a long time, it can become quite overwhelming so it’s good to get out of it when you can. The National Gallery of Modern Art is pretty great for that.
TF: And what are your future plans beyond STYX?
The show itself will be heading to the Playground Theatre in London from the 2nd to 14th of September, and we are currently talking to a host of Alzheimer’s charities about ways of expanding its reach. Second Body are also working on a new show called The End of the World, which you will hopefully hear more about soon!
You can see STYX at ZOO Southside, Main House until 17th August at 15:05. For tickets, go to https://tickets.edfringe.com/