The Pepper’s Ghost is a theatrical illusion, devised in the 19th century, that makes use of a two-way mirror to project holographic images onto a surface. This technique is employed during Toujours Et Près de Moi where an unnamed man and woman (François Testory and Sarah Thom) discover the majestic nature of the technique.
Toujours Et Près de Moi was created and directed by Patrick Eakin Young from theatre company ERRATICA. It is the director’s online research into the Pepper’s Ghost that has inspired the show. Within the performance space a two way mirror hangs from the ceiling at a 45 degree angle. When the lights are turned up we see the two performers behind the mirror. In front of them is a desk with two wooden boxes on top. The two performers gesture to one another and then the show truly starts. Here we see two miniature people appear and reappear from the boxes and a ghostly dance begins.
Toujours Et Près de Moi is a performance that is concerned with the body. The projections move and dance with physical dexterity. The fact that they are partially transparent projections gives the miniature bodies a sense of otherness, as if they are living in their own time and space as we gaze at their ghostly beauty. As well as the visuals it is important to mention the sound of Toujours Et Près de Moi. The soundtrack is choral and very overbearing. At times it distracts from the movement on the stage. This is explicit when the spoken word is introduced two thirds of the way into the show. This voice fights with the choir soundtrack and it is difficult to focus on the words. Before we had the body in complete harmony and now we experience music and words in disharmony. This distracts somewhat from an interesting and delightful performance that gives an insight into an imaginative 19th century illusion technique.