OE is a multimedia retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice, combining film, painting, a graphic fiction, poetry and music. The graphic novel (Bloomsbury 2017) sees Tom de Freston and Kiran Millwood Hargrave combine image and poetry to reimagine the myth. The film (Arts Council funded) is directed by Mark Jones and Tom de Freston, with poetry by Kiran Millwood Hargrave and music by Max Barton and Jethro Cooke. It depicts Orpheus return from the Underworld, where he makes a series of paintings which explore his memories and grief. The paintings seen in the film, by Tom de Freston, are the culminating part of the exhibition. The multimedia exhibition combines all the elements.
Past performance and exhibitions from the project include a solo show at Breese Little Gallery and two exhibitions/performances at 47/49 Tanner Street (the first of which was runner up at the Saboteur Awards for best one off performance).
“Orpheus and Eurydice is not just a reworking of a myth but a machine of its own, firing in its wires fragments of polyphony. Ground-breaking in its creativity and the fertility of its imagination, it resists easy definitions of classification, and yet, its vulnerability and intimacy also makes it wholly accessible. I have little doubt that it’ll be the work against which future hybrid and collaborative endeavours are measured.” – Claire Trévien, founder of Sabotage Reviews, award-winning poet, author, and academic
“A beautiful discourse on modern marriage with images and texts of psychological inter-penetration and comic dissonance.” – Lydia Goehr, Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University, USA
“Visually creative, academically informed, and imaginatively conceived, the riveting interplay of prose and poetry, at once witty and poignant, recasts Orpheus and Eurydice – illuminatingly, but darkly – as the archetypal ciphers O and E.” – Leon Burnett, University of Essex, UK
“Tom de Freston and Kiran Milwood Hargrave’s ingenious volume expands and revitalises the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice for new audiences, giving fresh life to themes of obsession, pain and loss as they invent compelling dialogues between character, text and thought.” – James Walters, Head of Film and Creative Writing, University of Birmingham, UK
“Neither poetry alone nor prose, neither academic writing (alone) nor fiction, and definitely not word without image, Orpheus and Eurydice is the passion of her absence. Do not ‘enjoy’ this book, feel it. The graphic novel is fast becoming the most poetic and provocative genre of our times and this volume is an exquisite example.” – Angie Voela, University of East London, UK
“Exhilarating, visionary and genre-defying. A free-wheeling but ingeniously focused reimagining of Orpheus and Eurydice which renovates our expectations of the essay, art object, lyric, notebook, poetic sequence and everything in between with equal grace and accomplishment. This book somehow manages to be urgent essential reading and a treasury you’ll return to for years to come” – Luke Kennard, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, University of Birmingham, UK
“This is a highly original and creative response to an ancient myth. Tom de Freston’s artwork is vivid, shocking and expressive, beautifully enhanced by Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s moving poetic narrative.” – Abigail Rokison-Woodall, University of Birmingham.
“There is a radical honesty about this book, one which grabs you where it hurts and pulls you in. It’s like eavesdropping on your own repressions, and just as thrilling, disturbing and compulsive. It’s also like slipping into the space between-the space between self and self; self and other; self and death; self and history; self and poverty; self and woeful, serious, inconsolable responsibility; self and atavistic, inescapable myth. That space between is where we live, if we live anywhere, and yet it is really seen or named. It is especially rarely seen or named in present-day culture and publishing, where everything is secured in advance by a marketable career, recognised expertise, established precedent. Between author and author, word and image, criticism and creativity, this book stakes out a different territory, one which corresponds with the state of tremulous and passionate mortality in which we are both most profoundly together and most tragically bereft. Amen, perhaps, is an appropriate response.” – Professor Ewan Fernie, The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, UK