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LETHE: Can we erase trauma? Or is fear part of our code?

There is a common desire among survivors of assault to erase everything that happened and become who they were before. That the return to a previous, unharmed self, is what “Recovery” would look like… not just to the survivor but to their family, their friends, and their support circle.

What would happen if we could simply erase all memory of trauma? Will we be free? Or did it change it forever? Is fear now part of our code.

Lethe lands at the King's Head Theatre in Novemeber, telling the story based in the near future where a Lethe ENT is a leading the field in memory augmentation technology. When Alice volunteered for their experiment and asked for 3 years to be removed from her memory. Now she doesn't remember what sent her to them, and an implant embedded in her skull protects her from recalling.

Lethe explores a cyberpunk inspired future of 'high tech and low life', where the best version of yourself can be commodified and sold back to you. 

We sat down with the team to find out about the creation of the show.. queue the Lethe takeover!

We began working on Lethe during the pandemic. Through writing, redrafting, and an incredible process the piece slowly shaped into a strange journey into the mind and body. As the world around us edged ever closer to the late-stage capitalist nightmare depicted in the Cyberpunk genre the piece became bolder and stranger as well.

Wait, what even is Cyberpunk?

“When our decision-making is nurtured by corporate algorithm, when so many of our experiences are their simulations of experience, when we’ve outsourced our memories to be stored and filed away, by them. How can we exist, then, when we’re someone else’s dream?” ― T.R. Napper, Neon Leviathan

Simply put cyberpunk is a subgenre of Science Fiction which focuses on stories set in a futuristic cities, anarcho-capitalist dystopia and full of themes of high tech and low life… I often joke and say we already live in a cyberpunk dystopia… we just need to update the dress code. Despite the neon glow and cyber augmentations - stories in Cyberpunk are mostly about empathy and lack thereof. The question who we consider 'normal; who do we extend kindness to are the foundations of which the genre is built.

Lethe uses this foundation to question what we, as a society, expect survivors of sexual assault to be and how do we measure recovery. Through our R&D period we got to explore how a cyber nightmare manifests on a small stage and off west end budget.

Director of Lethe, Micha Mirto says:

Theatre is about telling the truth through invention. Lethe is about as inventive as it gets. A fusion of direct storytelling, futuristic world building and physical theatre all collaborating to create a piece which tell us about a horribly common human experience.

Writer and Producer of Lethe, Noga Flaishon says:

We created the world of Lethe using sound, light, and movement to tell a story of one woman’s journey down the rabbit hole of her own mind in search of “Normality”. We are beyond excited to bring this piece to the King’s Head theatre, and we hope you’d join us down the rabbit hole in this new production.

Lethe runs at the King's Head Theatre from November 1st - November 12th, book now.