// a re-enactment
Jam sessions, patter with a Southern drawl, big dance numbers, and a bit of sweat: this is a re-enactment of Elvis Presley’s 1968 Comeback Special. But not how you might expect.
What happens if the Comeback comes back? Like a half-remembered dream or two mirrors facing each other or repeating a word so much it loses its meaning. Comeback Special is a double negative. It’s not the original, but it’s not not.
Greg creates an echo of the original event coloured by reverberations of contemporary masculinity, visibility and desire; a peculiar kind of séance.
“Although Presley is the ghostly heart of it, it’s neither an act of homage nor a simple nostalgia trip…by blurring the line between performers and their public, as well as the past and the present, Wohead creates a special bond”
Donald Hutera, The Times
“He catches the swagger, the sex appeal, the smile. His attention is exacting – so concentrated and precise – and the process of transforming is transfixing: both electric and ghoulish. There’s the air of a séance: a comeback special.”
Matt Trueman, Whatonstage
“Drained of the bright, synthetic colour of 1960s fashion, Wohead’s version is a shadow or skeleton of the original event. Recreated in monochrome, this is a black-and-white negative of the 1968 Comeback Special. An echo. A ghost.”
Catherine Love, Exeunt Magazine
Written and performed by Greg Wohead
Sound design and music arrangement: Timothy X Atack
Scene and lighting design: Ben Pacey
Producer: Laura Sweeney
Collaborating artist: Joe Wild
Artistic mentor: Sharon Smith
Technical manager: Salvatore Scollo
“One of the ‘slippery’ concepts that feeds into the Comeback Special work is the idea of masculinities, particularly those that have so far avoided easy categorisation.” Read an Exeunt interview on Comeback Special by Rosemary Waugh
Main photo: Manuel Vason
Production photos: Richard Eaton
With thanks to artists and technical managers who have contributed to the making process: Dan Watson, Rachel Mars, Nicki Hobday, Gareth Cutter, Rachael Young, Helen Mugridge, Anna Barrett, Rebecca Atkinson-Lord, Alice Hoult
Co-commissioned by Shoreditch Town Hall, Theatre in the Mill and South Street Arts Centre. A Jerwood Charitable Foundation/Bristol Old Vic Ferment Commission. Developed at MAKE, Bios, Greenwich and Lewisham Young People’s Theatre and the New Wolsey Theatre. Initially supported through a 2014 Dance and the Homemade Commission by Chisenhale Dance Space. Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
Calendar/ Previous Performances
17-20 May 17 // Shoreditch Town Hall, London, UK
31 October-1 November 16 // Chapter, Cardiff, UK
22-24 November 16 // Contact, Manchester, UK
15 May 16 // Brighton Festival/Caravan Showcase, Brighton, UK
12-13 May 16 // Mayfest, Bristol, UK
10 May 16 // South Street Arts Centre, Reading, UK
22-26 March 16 // Shoreditch Town Hall, London, UK