project image
Dan Shelton

first performed on November 7, 2011
Cockpit Theatre, London, UK
performed three times in 2011


Brighton, UK


The project in its emergent form is a lurid and surreal theatrical experience utilizing physical theater, puppetry, film and visceral soundscapes. Devised and performed by Dan Shelton in collaboration with musician Steve Haben, filmmaker Lisa Cawthorne and performer Patrizia Carlota.

“In our ordinary life we are limited and bound in a thousand ways-the prey of illusions and phantasms, the slaves of unrecognized complexes, tossed hither and thither by external influences, blinded and hypnotized by deceiving appearances….” Roberto Assagioli (1965).

Assagioli, considered to be the founding father of Psychosynthesis, was largely inspired by Freud’s idea of the repressed mind and Jung’s theories of the collective unconscious. Inspired by his ideas, manifestations of unconscious archetypes are presented as dark and ghoulish apparitions in a series of vignettes with a visceral soundscape and huge filmic projections.

In the beginning the audience are lead into a meditative state through guided meditation; they experience the plain of dreams through the experiences of a single male protagonist. He finds himself trapped in a hellish unseen maze represented by a monochrome pattern of light projected over and around the dreamer. The dreamer, in monochrome pajamas, struggles blindly on with a head transformed into a light refracting prism. The dreamer represents us all as lost souls struggling to find a way through life. The prism is a metaphor for a lost sense of self and a feeling of obscurity. Life challenges have an impact which can affect us on a much deeper level and can result in unrest in our unconscious which, however subjective, resonates in all of us.

Throughout the piece the dreamer interacts with light, sound, projections of a huge scale, puppets, and props; masks allow him to become the archetype of mother, when he appears as if among clouds with huge red lips, or as the higher self wearing a gossamer shroud on which a flaming eye is seen as stars race by behind him.

The final image of the work is the transformation of the dreamer into a demonic newsprint-covered incubus, suffocated by the weight of the headlines of life’s troubles and eyeballing the audience as if throwing down a challenge. The audience is left to consider the equilibrium of their own life after awaking from the performative dream. Continuing research into the field of Psychosynthesis by the company will deliver further theatrical interventions.