How do you perceive yourself when you look in the mirror? Do you only see yourself as an individual existing in the present moment, or as a link in a chain leading you back to where you came from?
Mirrors are one of the most powerful images in lisa luxx’s Eating The Copper Apple, commissioned as part of Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival. Her poem tells her personal story of displacements: from family, from nations, and most crucially from a complete sense of her identity. Through the course of this performance, luxx explores this separation, and the path to resolution along which clues to what she is seeking appear in fragments.
Luxx is a powerful performer. She gives herself intensely to her poetry, deftly leading us through her turbulent and often devastating emotional journey. But this is also a production in which language takes many forms. Characters move in and out as motifs: fragments of sounds, a line repeated, a visual reference. The centrepiece of the staging is a replica copper mirror, upon which we are shown the symbols which have filled in the gaps left by physical absences.
Within luxx’s personal story, for all its particularities and specificity, may also be found the universal. The question of how and whether we can be defined by place and heritage is one which can be approached from many perspectives, some of which are highlighted in the post-performance discussion. How do we find a way to reconcile diverse parts of our story; and not only that, but to understand that we are more than any individual part? Eating The Copper Apple is a poem about searching for identity drawn from others, but also coming to terms with moments when oneness is impossible.
Though Eating the Copper Apple is a story of the challenges luxx has faced, ultimately it’s also one of resolution. It’s about how disparate parts can coexist within a person, but that this is only possible when they are each fully known. It’s about how, and with whom, we share the histories, places and people we carry within us, and learning how to identify their shadows in the reflection we see in the mirror.