Metamorphis Theatre Company has turned to the movie, ‘My own Private Idaho’ for their latest show. But IDAHO isn’t an adaption of the film; instead it looks to celebrity and its cult status as a story of two hustlers who embark on a journey of self discovery, debates about sexuality, identity and society as signposts to explore. Hollywood harvests life through plots and narratives. “But are our feelings the same as Hollywood feelings?” McGreal asks, “The creative process is about recycling, translating, interpreting materials and language which already exist in our own practice.”
IDAHO engages the film and its soundtrack, then translates and rewrites it, rendering alternative landscapes where we can project ourselves, identify and recognize our own subjectivity. ”We translate and edit the codes and Hollywood icon River Phoenix and the language of the entertainment industry,” McGreal says, “We want to expose the machinery and tease out the values of the mainstream media industry.”
IDAHO is part dance and text which looks at Warhol’s idea of mass culture and the power of image as a commodity by approaching Hollywood. “We wanted to do something that film doesn’t do- look at the star status of River Phoenix as a portrait to suggest the star’s is a reflection of our own understanding of projection of that character,” McGreal says “What we think we see in the celebrity persona is a result of mass mediation, and above all of our own act of projection.”
IDAHO uses songs from the soundtrack to look at a relationship based on consumerism. “But do we consume pop or allow ourselves to be consumed by pop?” Jessi Lewis says, “IDAHO allows me as performer, an opportunity to reinvent songs as a soundtrack to my life in whatever way I choose.” We define ourselves by the music that we listen to, by the songs that we first heard at key moments in our past lives. It offers self reinvention. We are invited to shape our selves in moulds which have already been poured.
They chose My own Private Idaho because the entertainment industry can be oppressive. “We are vulnerable to film because it claims it knows who we are and what we need,” McGreal says, “Its appeals with the promise to address what we lack.” IDAHO assumes that there audience are more literate than what is generally sold to them. “Our own life experiences cannot be influenced by the culture industry,” McGreal says “When we buy a movie ticket, we should have the right to translate and appropriate them.”
“When you take on a project like IDAHO, there is a danger of the work getting a bit too heavy,” McGreal says, “Experience has made me rich so now the goal is to have fun at the same time.”
Tickets: 15/20 www.trybooking.com/EHYW