Family History Project

in residence at the Bush Theatre Autumn 2012


It wasn’t until I moved abroad that I began to investigate the stories of the illustrious characters in my family history. These very American stories, almost archetypally so, made me feel connected somehow to something I had never needed or cared much for at home. The stories are far from me: sea voyages, cowboys, mistreatment of Indians, gold rushes, diseases, New York, the West, getting rich, losing it all. It's all so big and so violent, the stakes so high. But it started to seem to me I was in there somewhere. Under it all was a sense of blind optimism that I was always told was supposed to be part of the "American Dream." Living away from America made me want to live in these stories a bit, to find what germ of myself I might be able to find in them.

Pushed by this impulse and guided by my research on authorship in collaboration, I have gathered a group of devising actors who are working with me Autumn 2012 at the Bush Theatre, London, to create a piece about our relationships to family stories: Who are we? How did we get here? What are we running away from or running toward? What do we want to find again? Or leave behind?

We will present our work at various points throughout the process at the Bush, culminating in a work-in-progress showing early 2013.