Adventures in Black and White

Photo: Stacie Lee Bennett

Miriam Gould and I met at the university in Canterbury in 2006. Both foreign students, we voluntarily displaced ourselves and opened ourselves up to the environment, culture and people around us. After finishing university, both of us stayed in the UK.

10 years later, in 2016, prompted by the ongoing refugee crisis, we came together as Double Trouble - an international female double-act coming from a range of disciplines, including physical theatre, music and comedy. We wanted to look closer at displacement and its aftermath: reflect on our family histories (my grandparents were exiled from Lithuania to Siberia by the Soviets; Miriam’s fled from Vienna to America from the Nazis), their global migration routes, written and photographic traces left behind as well as our own choice to live in a foreign country and its consequences.

Lithuania, Vienna, Dachau, Siberia, New Jersey, The Netherlands, UK... Based on autobiographical material, "Adventures in Black and White" explores displacement and its aftermath through storytelling, sound- and imagescapes. We follow the parallel lives of two people in exile, one in Siberia, the other in Sussex, both forced to leave their homes as children in the first half of the twentieth century. Their experience of displacement has crystallized into half-remembered stories, blurry photographs, family habits and two Granddaughters who are having trouble finding their roots.

The imagery we create touches on the universal nature of ‘displacement’, connecting the characters’ experiences to those of others, including in the present. We explore the light within the dark: the creative survival tactics employed by young people in exile, the idiosyncratic habits passed down through the generations of families who have been displaced, and the fertility that lies within the inability to get back to our origins.

Devised and Performed by – Judita Vivas and Miriam Gould
Dramaturgy - Charles Adrian
Design - Andrea Carr
Set - Marcela Iriarte Villalobos
Costume - Robin Lill

We began devising the show with generous support from Camden People's Theatre and their "Starting Blocks" programme. The work-in-progress performances were shared at Camden People's Theatre in spring 2017 and again in November 2017. We are also very grateful to Battersea Arts Centre for providing space to work on the show. We premiered "Adventures in Black and White" at Streatham Space Project in May 2018. The final development of this work was funded by Arts Council England.


Photos: Nina Carrington