Celebration, Florida – Two unrehearsed performers who have never met

    Greg Wohead is a writer, performer and live artist originally from Texas. He makes theatre performances, one-to-one pieces and audio works and his work has been seen at theatres and festivals in the UK, US and Europe. Greg presents his brand new show at Tobacco Factory Theatres this November. Here he speaks to Bristol 24/7 about his latest creation – quietly surreal Celebration, Florida. 

    Celebration, Florida uses two new guest performers for each show. They have never met before, and they don’t know anything about the show before it starts. They are guided through the entire show – where to go, what to do, what to say – by my voice via headphones. The idea is that they are standing in for me, and that I am speaking to the audience and doing things using the voices and bodies of the performers.

    The show is largely about human connection – whether familial, friendship, intimate or sexual – and exploring when we reach for those connections; when they are made and missed. In a way, the show is about me spending a period of time alone in a hotel room, and so any connection within that mode of the show is imagined. When we imagine connections and imagine other people and what we might do or say if they were in front of us, we can start to play with reality – what is real or what is imagined.

    So to me, it felt like if I wanted to explore this experience of spending some time alone in a hotel room while missing someone, I had to explore the reality of that connection: recognise that I was in a way simulating that connecting by trying to satisfy my emotional need for that connection with other things or people. In some ways, in the anonymous space of a hotel room I wonder if you are confronted with yourself – both in what you do with your time alone and within your imagination with all that free time.

    Image by Rachel Mars

    The idea of titling the show after the town of Celebration, Florida is more thematic than literal, I would say. The town of Celebration, Florida was created by the Walt Disney Company and constructed as the perfect American town, evoking the smalltown feeling of nostalgia that appeals to some. In many ways that nostalgia is constructed and fake – it’s a nostalgia for something that never really existed.

    Celebration, Florida premieres at Tobacco Factory Theatres from Wed 14 – Sat 17 November. For more info and to book tickets, visit the main show page.

    Greg Wohead was speaking to Steve Wright from Bristol 24/7.


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