Xenon: the performance

An ambitious interdisciplinary performance originally entitled Xenon: an exploded opera, which serves as a critical political allegory reflecting on recent global economic upheavals and the state of human rights, and focusing on the theme of the politics of work, notions of censorship and freedom of speech. Combining sound, dance, spoken word and video projections, Xenon: an exploded opera is devised for virtuoso performances. The original stage production of the work featured former Principal Dancer of the William Forsythe Company Maurice Causey, the artists Monica Ross and Amy Cunningham, the avant-jazz vocalist Elaine Michener, the contemporary and experimental vocalists of Juice Vocal Ensemble, viola player Conall Gleeson, contemporary harpsichordist Jane Chapman, DJ Miss Bailey, pop musician Jade Pybus, and the artist Mikhail Karikis.


The unusual absence of a colleague and the news heard on the radio trigger unlikely reactions in seven characters working in the claustrophobic routine of an austere office. Yearning to overcome their oppressive circumstances and pursuing the impossible, each character enters an imaginary space where s/he battles with self-censorship, frustration, high aspirations and failure. The bare banality and bleak automation in the office are juxtaposed with striking dream-like sequences staging each character’s quest, including an office worker’s flight attempt from his chair, the recitation of the Declaration of Human Rights from memory and an encounter with the Ferryman of Death.