Ceaseless Fun’s Agnosia Explores Where One Person Begins and Another Ends

Agnosia, the new immersive show from LA-based performance and arts production company Ceaseless Fun, examines the impact of a loss, aiming to “look at what is left in light of what is gone.” Haunting talks to artistic director Derek Spencer about this first installment and what is to follow in their thematically linked season of three episodes, The Outline of a Human.



“At no point did I sit down to make a show about loss. I think I was always more interested in a show about how a person can come to define themselves through what they see in another. I wanted to explore a duality: where does one person begin and the other end? It just so happens that loss is a great mechanism for asking these questions.”


Ceaseless Fun’s goal is to “present critically engaging and socially-activating work in ways that excite, haunt, and mobilize our audiences.” And The Outline of a Human certainly fits within this remit, allowing Spencer to “make work that prompts dialogue and challenges assumptions.”


The first in the trilogy, Agnosia, grew from ancient poetic roots, into a tree with diverging branches: “Originally, I was just interested in devising an adaptation of the Epic of Gilgamesh. As I started digging into the text and outlining and reading, though, I felt a number of distinct ideas and concepts separating themselves from each other. What started as one of many pitches for our adaptation turned into a sort of prologue piece, which in turn became a standalone show. It shares themes with Gilgamesh, but no longer draws on that text.”



Agnosia The Outline of a Human - Ceaseless Fun - Loss - Immersive Theater


An Individual Experience

Agnosia is an immersive experience that patrons will journey through alone, and as such, raises the question of the level of agency to be expected. Spencer describes this as “a challenging prospect.”


“Sometimes there’s an urge to give the audience as much agency in as many ways as possible. I’d like to think that I make these decisions based on what format will best suit the themes and ideas we’re interested in exploring.”


“I wouldn’t necessarily say that we are exploring the audience member’s identity and narrative here, though I certainly hope we give them perspective on their own experiences! As any immersive actor can tell you, though, the energy and responsiveness of an audience member can have a profound impact on the tone of the show. We’ve been working in the rehearsal room to tune in to each audience member’s presence, and to use that energy as the actors see fit.”


“All that being said, this show allocates the most narrative power to the audience member of any show I’ve worked on. The audience will make several choices that impact the narrative beats of the show.”



Expectations of Space

“There is “narrative” to be found in any action that happens over time, but audiences should not expect a traditional story.”


Spencer promises an “intimate” show, which “will definitely involve touching and non-verbal interaction.” And with little to no reliance on technology, “audiences should expect themes and effects to be conveyed through performance, movement, and interactivity.”


“We’re thinking conceptually about negative space, so it’s not always going to be something physical. In the instance of this show, two key examples are the absence of a person, and by the absence of light. I think it’s worth pointing out that there is ‘negative space’ inherent in so much of what is there and what we do: the things we don’t say, the people we don’t see, the distances between us all. I think the project isn’t so much about creating negative space, but reckoning with the negative space already in front of us.”


Space is also important in terms of the locations in which Agnosia, and the following two shows, are to be housed: “I’m as interested in site-responsiveness as I am in immersion, so it’s hard to pass up a chance to work in a new space. We hope to keep finding poetry in the use of new and interesting spaces. Without giving too much away, the upcoming shows will be in some pretty unique spots.”



An Exploration in Three Parts

“Attacking the same core issues from three very different angles seems like a good way to push the post-show conversation into a critical, productive place.”


Agnosia is to be followed by They Who Saw the Deep, which returns more closely to the source material of Gilgamesh, before moving onto the final chapter, The Stars. Although connected, Spencer promises that “each show will stand independently and without much reference to one another.”


“I wouldn’t say that we look at different aspects of the human condition in each, but I would say that we’ll use a different lens. Agnosia kicks the series off on a microscopic level. We’re taking a fine lens and looking at the most basic way in which we know ourselves: in relation to the other. From there, the series will slowly scope out. They Who Saw the Deep will look more broadly at the foundations of community and the ways in which our own personal narratives and goals constitute the identity of the collective. And finally, The Stars will look at society as a whole — our identity as it can be deciphered through consumption, and the space we fill in the very system itself.”


“I like to think that, together with my collaborators, I’m creating a world with multiple perspectives and access points. It’s up to the audience what meaning they’d like to make out of this experience.”



Agnosia The Outline of a Human - Ceaseless Fun - Loss - Immersive Theater




Agnosia, a short form experience, asks a single audience member to step into a home turned upside-down by loss. Memory, recognition, and even sensory-experience all become unreliable as the audience is asked to examine how unexpected tragedy is absorbed into one’s own identity and narrative.


WHERE: Lincoln Heights

WHEN: January 18 – January 26, 2018

RUNTIME: 20-25 minutes

TICKETS: $20, available at agnosia.bpt.me

Directed by: DEREK SPENCER



Designed by: LIAM MOORE


For more information on immersive events in your area, check out Haunting’s event map, calendar, and catalog.

About The Author

Victoria Camps
After receiving a Masters degree in Creative Writing, specializing in the areas of Young Adult Literature and Editing, Victoria now works as a Learning and Development Manager during the day, helping others make their words as beautiful as they can be by night.
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