Besides, you lose your soul or The History of Western Civilization

Text and Direction: Julia Lee Barclay

Performance and Creation: Bill Aichison, Zoe Bouras, Rachel Ellis and Birthe Jorgensen

Special Guests (appearing various nights): Alison Blunt, Fred Backus, Theron Schmidt

Lighting Design: Boris Kahnert

Assistant Director/Sound: Lucy Avery

Sound Design: Martin Williams

11 February 1 March 2009 at Camden People’s Theatre, London

Watch trailer  * Click here *

Images   * Click here *

A US Army officer concludes an interview in the New Yorker that torturing people isn’t a good idea because you don’t get accurate information and “besides, you lose your soul.” But what is this soul? Did we discover or invent it?

Performed by different configurations of Apocryphal artists, creating a hybrid between theatre, live art, photography, music, dance and sculpture, working with a prewritten text but no assigned lines, each night will be a unique journey through the rubble of Western Civilisation in search of our soul.

Premiered in December 2007 at the Brick Theatre in NYC (Williamsburg) and shown in 2008 at Camden People’s Theatre, Chelsea College of Art and Lorem Ipsum Gallery in Gallery, this event has featured members of Apocryphal’s laboratory, which includes actors, dancers, musicians, live artists and visual artists from seven different countries. These events have been performative-responses to the text by performers who have worked together for many years with Barclay in NYC and London. 

Apocryphal is now raising funds and producing partners for a February 2009 premiere of a full scale production at Camden People’s Theatre in London followed by an international tour, including Continental Europe and New York.       

“It was without a doubt one of the most stimulating nights of theatre

I’ve had in quite some time.”

– Martin Denton of

“…this playful, intuitive, live disintegration of semantic structures enables us to imagine other possible worlds… offering audience members surprising moments

of heightened awareness that suggest new meaning is possible”

- Dr. Kélina Gotman  

The Jesus Guy

Text and direction by Julia Lee Barclay
Created & performed by Bill Aitchison, Lukas Angelini,

Zoe Bouras, Rachel Ellis & Theron Schmidt
Live Visual Artist: Birthe Jorgensen
Assistant Director/Production Manager - Lucy Avery

30 March - 16 April 2006, Camden People’s Theatre, then toured

to Rose Bruford , Loughborough University and Central School of Speech and Drama.

Images  * Click here *

Five performers create a new show each night, improvising with written and improvised text, scores, ideas and visual materials accumulated during rehearsals and performances.

A visual artist throws them new objects she creates to play with.  No one has a space to call their own.

The Jesus Guy is a trip through the collective grid of unconscious desires, which lead and mislead us to look to Someone In Charge to ask for the name of our own nameless experience.

Julia on The Jesus Guy “What the audience sees are everyday and/or constructed objects, pieces of paper, practical lights, and performers responding to a situation as it exists, in the room, in the moment. The audience and the players, both lit, can sense we are in the same room together. We are all, players and audience alike, witnesses to what we are experiencing and creating as our reality in any given moment, whether or not it can be expressed in fixed terms.

The production embodies the conflict between sacred and secular space. The text allows in the contradictory voices within us in the struggle to name nameless experience. The text cuts into and contradicts itself, demanding a response from the five performers that is not character-based but instead is based on their own response to the text. The Jesus Guy will not attempt to smooth out the rough edges of the experience of hearing these conflicting voices, but instead will highlight the gaps between our desires and our actions especially as regards the seemingly insatiable desire to have Someone in charge.”

“I was a huge fan of The Jesus Guy, and seeing (I think) four performances of it made it all the more fascinating and compelling”

- Chris Goode, director Signal to Noise

  1. -

“This play is political in the true, uneasy sense -about how we get ourselves into these situations and why some of us become these leaders and

why the rest of us let this happen.”
- Jill Robinson, writer

“The presence of a quest for humanity…my hands became a cemetery”

– Luis C. Sotelo, performance artist

“That way of presenting things is much more in tune with how we perceive reality”

– Tim Jeeves

“The fact that at points the people on stage surprised themselves and other participants and ended up laughing was really refreshing. "We were all in it together".

- Katayoun Thurlow, actor/writer

I felt quite uplifted… Due to the improvised nature of the piece, and the interaction with the audience, I felt like I was a spectator witnessing an event of which I was part.”

- Annabel Bashford – MA student

Heart Oven Falling: Gotcha!

Direction/conception: Julia Lee Barclay

Creation/performances: Zoe Bouras and Catherine Dyson (2004 Rules & Regs)

Zoe Bouras and Theron Schmidt (2005 Chelsea Theatre)

Lighting Design (2005): Seth Kriebel

Jim wrote that he heart oven wrote. We loudly pronounce this. JWB. 7 emails from an aphasic father, 2 performers,

1 abandoned dollhouse, some scribbles on paper.

Inspiration: The basis of both very different works is the aphasic e-mails sent to Julia from her father since he had a stroke last year.  Aphasia affects the language centre of the brain, creating a disassociation of words from what we think they mean.

The structure: using work from the company’s lab exploring levels of presence, along with new levels discovered during rehearsal.  While there is an underlying structure that includes a verbal/gestural vocabulary, the piece is improvised from moment to moment, and cannot be replicated from one performance to the next.

" I will call it performative theatre. It is not so much about representation, it is about presentation of a process: the process of becoming aware of awareness. It’s a transparent act…. Clear appealing theatrical images appeared by chance… It was about recovering awareness, a mental state. The technique to get there: the body. The technique to be conscious and to rewire body and mind: to perform and to be aware that one is performing in front of others. The own self is part of the audience, if you want, it is the most attentive audience.”

- Luis Carlos Sotelo

“This work touches me deeply”

–  Aude Tournay

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site created by Birthe Jorgensen           © all rights reserved  Apocryphal Theatre  Ltd.



Kurdish music recorded

on homemade CD by unknown artist

played as part of Besides you lose your soul

or The History of Western Civilisation

After show discussions:

12 February: philosophy and theatre or what is the soul and can you find it in the theatre, led by Dr. Kelina Gotman from Kings College in conversation with Apocryphal and the audience.

19 February: the politics of torture: why are we torturing people and what can we do about that, led by Piers Bannister from Amnesty International, a short presentation and conversation with Apocryphal and the audience.

26 February: accessibility of experimental theatre: can we reach a wider audience and what are the barriers between general audiences and experimental theatre venues, panel featuring Matt Ball director of Camden People's Theatre, Rebecca Hanna Grindall of producing organization Fuel and others TBC, in conversation with Apocryphal and the audience.