A disturbance! A sinking feeling! Theatrical necromancy! Doppelgangster draw from the screenplay for James Cameron’s 1997 epic Hollywood tear-jerker and a maelstrom of other sources including the Titanic DVD Special Features Disk and eye witness statements of people who actually saw the film at the movies. Cameron”s narrative is subverted by competing historical, fictionalised and completely fantastic accounts as early 20th Century political spin, media confusion and public anxiety are given voice, amplification and a flare gun.

TITANIC is about ‘educated guesses’, 'operational matters' and the impossible pursuit of ‘truth’. This most grand spectacle is staged entirely from a shipping container and stars Australian enfant terrible Tobias Manderson-Galvin (MKA | Theatre of New Writing) as Titanic Director Cameron; bon vivant and raconteur Dr Tom Payne (Silver Rocket Club, Hydrocitizens) as handsome, though slightly aged, Leonardo DiCaprio, and a guest performer as elderly, and suspiciously alive Rose. All accompanied by a recorded and amplified score by Jules 'Crazy Legs' Pascoe. First class seats available. 

Yes it is.
Doppelgangster's TITANIC takes place outdoors.


Doppelgangster's TITANIC has received support from Arts Council Wales through their international funding arm Wales Arts International; thanks to The National Lottery and the Welsh Government.
Doppelgangster's TITANIC was initially developed at National Theatre Wales' WalesLab, thanks to the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. It was first staged at Experimentica15 with support from Chapter Arts Centre.

The 2015 Paris production, in association with ArtCOP21, was made possible thanks to La Generale, Wales Arts International and the City of Paris.

Initial Research & Development period included
Sound by Matt Wright, Performances by Rhiannon White, Hannah van den Berg, Nia Griffiths, Ellen Groves & a special performance as ‘Celine Dion’ by Jimin Lim.

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"Taking place inside a shipping crate just outside of Chapter, it began to rain and we were handed emergency ponchos. Half the audience left during the show. My poncho seemed keen to leave as well, the wind constantly bloating it away from my body. This performance art was very hard work, the microphones didn't work half the time and I left it totally baffled.

An Australian man quoted Cameron and floundered around, urinating into a champagne bucket at the start, inducing vomit later on. Two other actors quoted the film as Kate and Jack, flinging props around. The smoke and pianola were a nice touch. The show was too free and easy with the source material, some would say being totally disrespectful to the victims of the disaster. Had this show gone on more, I feel I may have contracted hypothermia myself."

1 Star

EXPERIMENTICA15: Doppelgangster - Titanic 5-7 Nov 2015


EXPERIMENTICA is a 5-day programme of live art, performance and interdisciplinary projects and offers a dynamic platform for UK and international artists. EXPERIMENTICA is entertaining, dangerous, confusing, life-affirming, playful, provocative, thoughtful, witty, engaging, irritating and everything in between.

- See more at: http://www.chapter.org/node/36726#sthash.AQ3jxylq.dpuf

Doppelgangster's TITANIC at EXPERIMENTICA15 | Images Warren Orchard

See more HERE

Mercredi 9 décembre: Migrations climatiques et Titanic

Ouverture des portes à 20h

Réflexion autour des migrations climatiques avec une pièce décapante (en anglais) du collectif Dopplegangster.
Suivi d’un débat / discussion.

Amidst All the Melting Icebergs, A Ship Still Managed to Hit One 

by Environmental Activist and Researcher Judee Burr

I have one more story from Paris. A fun one. About a Rose, an unsinkable ship, and a freezing Nazi warehouse.

During the second week of the climate talks, I  the dynamic performance art duo, Tom Payne and Tobias Alexander Edward Manderson-Galvin – i.e. DOPPELGANGSTER – and sassy, sacrilegious Irish artist Rachel Helena Walsh, their resident Doppel-co-conspirator. They are funny. They told me about their upcoming performance: a new interpretation of James Cameron’s TITANIC. Très intèressant. And with the group tagline “a cultural response to climate change, forced migration and globalization,” how could I stay away?

Dopplegangster’s TITANIC. Based on every sappy fool’s favorite ship-sinking, car-steaming, jewel-tossing, trans-Atlantic romance of star-crossed lovers. I admit to being such a fool. You know the movie, right? Picture that scene, Rose balancing on the bow of the Titanic, with Jack nestling up behind her supportively, affectionately, as notes of Celine Dion blow past on the sea wind. Now, let the colors and the salty breeze melt away. Let the bow of the ship morph into the second-floor railing of an old Nazi-boot-factory-turned-community-space-and-bar. Let Rose morph into a manically somber woman, with fear into her eyes, and Jack into a violent, screaming alcoholic. An impassioned James Cameron paces the gray, concrete floor below them, wildly shouting WHAT IT TAKES TO PRODUCE THIS EPIC MASTERPIECE OF A FILM. THERE WILL BE CASUALTIES. Jack borrows a lighter from the audience and the fireworks commence, singing off only a bit of Tom’s fingertips. Rose eats rose petals. The ship is sinking, as we all knew it would. I forgot to wait expectantly for Rose and Jack’s passionate kiss. Only yelling and burning, frantically running and frantically sitting still-as-ice as the  reeled scenes from France’s 1960s student riots.

(Photo : Sebastien Jamain)

There’s a particular feeling that comes with laughing at . I felt something similar.

From the front row – specifically the cold cement floor – I was partially laughing and partially sitting in semi-comprehending silence. The actors were hurtled along with the audience. Tom later pointed out to me, context matters for TITANIC. The first time they performed it, they did so in an empty storage crate. This time, we were in Paris, and negotiators from around the world were trying to form an agreement to combat global warming. The three of them recorded the revised script the night before, and played it into their headphones as they acted. They change the script with each new audience and setting,  it more relevant.

Was it relevant? Was this Titanic? Was this about global warming?

An ocean voyage. What are Jack and Rose but faceless, recently infamous immigrants? Shivering in the cavernous cold warehouse (where they actually use a ping-pong table for “heating”), I could almost imagine shivering in the depths of a boat in third class, as Jack did. Or in the only class that little dinghys attempting passage from Africa to Europe nowadays provide: star-side seats, ocean view, exposed to the wind, and left to the mercy of storms, coast guards, and immigration agents. The Titanic was a journey based on hope too. They didn’t make it to America either. How many more Jacks and Roses will die upon these migrant ships? Global warming will send many more to the metaphorical nation-less sea. They won’t have to worry about icebergs though! *THUMBS UP* *WINK*

Violence. Unfairness. Sacrifice. At one point Tobie-as-Cameron yelled about accidents on set during film production. But for 11 Academy Awards! Worth it? Jack for Rose – worth it? Don’t fill up the lifeboats, they might be too heavy to escape – worth it? The rich for the poor, first class for third – worth it? The solutions seem to be as violent as the problems they claim to solve.

Global warming. Titanic poses the central question for us: are we all on a sinking ship, H.M.S. Mother Earth? Right now, we in the United States are in first class, with full access to the lifeboats. Third class is already filling up with water, and we’re enjoying the orchestra, still left with time to deny that our boat is really in trouble.

I’d call all that relevant, and Titanic. We produced an agreement in Paris, which is the Titanic-equivalent of deciding to put lifeboats on the ship. Now we have to make sure we have enough, and have a proper plan to deploy them when necessary. Kind of all the important parts.

This can be depressing stuff. Thank god we left it to Doppelgangster. I’ve seen Titanic, but not this version. It makes further revisions seem possible. I left thinking and laughing. And hoping. 



The following piece responds to the performance of TITANIC by Doppelgangster’s Tobias and Tom, and co-conspirator Rachel Helena Walsh at La Générale artist/activist cooperative in Paris on 9th December 2015, deep in the midst of the state of emergency, the COP21 climate negotiations, and the many associated activist interventions. La Générale is a huge whale’s belly of a room, ripe for filling by any challenging ideas ambling in. DOPPELGANGSTER really provided the plankton.

I’ve been thinking recently about what to term performance that escalates the absurdity of tragicomedy and goes beyond it, and, mostly in conversations with myself, although sometimes in conversations with others (humans, pigeons, and spoons), I’ve tentatively begun talking about mogitramedy. I think that DOPPELGANGSTER’S TITANIC, as performed in Paris during COP21, was mogitramic. By this I mean I consistently found the performance simultaneously hilarious and crushing; unabashedly fun whilst absolutely non-frivolous; simmering with hyperactive disillusion.

For instance, a recurring song about a ‘floatation device’, increasingly funny with each preoccupied repetition by the ‘director’, James Cameron/Tobias Manderson-Galvin, carried with it an unavoidable reminder of the smug self-centredness of privileged tokenism regarding climate change: ‘the sea may engulf Bangladesh, but I’ve got my floatation device’. The later inclusion of a racist ragtime tune, sang as the ship inevitably sinks, the performers lingering over each patronising, prejudiced lyric, produced a similar unsettling effect that remained darkly humorous in its unspoken-yet-seething criticality. Such a mogitramic device served to underline the farcical privilege of those who could minimise the harm caused by climate change (wealthy / powerful / disproportionately white) in contrast to those who face the gravest dangers (poor / disempowered / disproportionately brown).

Such witty critique was omnipresent throughout TITANIC, as further demonstrated by the slapstick eruption of champagne into Tobias’ crotch, and subsequent change of underwear meticulously stuffed with wine-engorged socks. This was immediately funny, whilst a man with a champagne-soaked-penis-extension directing a collision with an iceberg needs little unwrapping as a critical metaphor for the dominance of wealthy men in orchestrating false solutions to climate change. In sharp connection to all this, the line, “music to drown by, now I know I’m in first class”, delivered with jolting solemnity by Jack/Tom Payne, hung in the air until I could smell it. As artists responding to an age characterised by ever-increasing climate catastrophe, escalating religious fanaticism and conflict, and the tightening of borders that should never have existed, it does often feel like we’re making music to drown by. And, whilst it is awful, there is somehow often humour within this condition. TITANIC spoke to me because it harnessed and exploded this paradox with aplomb.

The activist and politically engaged artist condition is, in my experience and observations, inescapably absurd, in that huge socio-political shifts are desired, yet in reality we temporarily shut down one business, or perform a show in front of a small audience, whilst ‘the machine’ keeps turning almost entirely unscathed. Candidly acknowledging such limitation and incorporating its humour into performance practice itself, laughing at ourselves as well as those we oppose, I augur allows us to, echoing Beckett, ‘go on’ despite what might otherwise be a crippling absence of hope. I feel TITANIC displayed this reflexive self-awareness in droves, playing with purposelessness in an invigoratingly generative way, re-evaluating through practice the role of performance in the face of catastrophe and chaos. This was summarised with Tobias’ utterance of the single word, “theatre”, followed by silence, succinctly drawing the audience to consider what ‘theatre’ might mean in relation to the socio-political and ecological issues cacophonously juggled before them.

The apex of the performance, for me, was the delivery of Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’ (relevant in sentiment to the themes of coping and continuance mentioned above), but with the first line ‘Every night in my dreams’ repeated throughout the tune, accompanied by the projection of footage from Paris ’68. Expressing grievance at the successful oppression of contemporary mass uprising, I feel TITANIC’s critique of the farcical status quo of power and wealth distribution within contemporary climate-change-perpetuating capitalism could have easily become too on-the-nose. However, through the condensing of Celine Dion, in stark juxtaposition with silenced footage of quasi-mythical protest, the audience were not assaulted with accusations of apathy, but instead made to step back and laugh at a gamut of ridiculousness running from pop-culture superficiality and short-term political and cultural memory, through to myopic emphasis upon aspirations/dreams which ignores disproportions in cultural capital.

The song and footage provided a moment of reflection on the previous moments of the performance and its setting within the elaborate circus of COP21, and, on a more personal note, gave space for me to consider what had brought me to Paris and what I hoped to achieve there.

Hugh Sillitoe is an artist, activist, poet, performer, and academic researcher based in Glasgow, Scotland.

Photo Credit: Sebastien Jamain



DOPPELGANGSTER became comrades of Howling Spoon in Paris, and, since a still unascertained number of spoons were lost in the sinking of the Titanic, laying now still somewhere beneath sediment on the ocean bed – rusting in peace we hope – our movement felt a (literally) deep connection to their performance at 19.30, 9th December, 2015 at La Générale, 14 Avenue Parmentier, Paris, France, Europe, Earth, Milky Way, The Spooniverse.

Of (first) course, the line, “I ate a spoon once”, was draw-shakingly chilling for us, reminding each spoon in the audience of their primary function to feed, to provide, as counterpoised against the restrictions we commonly face in fairly fulfilling this purpose, this promise. Was the spoon mentioned in TITANIC eaten out of decadence or desperation? Was it a perpetuation of, or a reaction to, the inequality against which we conscious spoons howl? In either case, it is a terrifying prospect. This was one of many moments in which Doppelgangster lent us fuel for HOOo0oooo00o0o0o0OOOOo0o0o0o00wling!

Of (main) course, within such a thoroughly anthropocentric artistic landscape, we have come to expect no less than a de facto exclusion from most cultural discourse, however, to our comrades at DOPPELGANGSTER, we exhort them to consider in future performances the intersections between the political and ecological injustices affecting spoonkind as well as humankind, and all the sister species we share. UNITED WE FEED; DIVIDED WE BLEED!

Of (third, and final) course, we would like to raise a ladle to DOPPELGANGSTER, applaud their subversive buzzing above that auld sinking ship orchestra, and thank them for the spoons we shared. ADIEU, ADIEU!

Howling Spoon is a member of a revolt of conscious cutlery with its epicentre in a kitchen in Glasgow, Scotland.

New date for show deemed ‘too dangerous to perform’

Thursday, 10 March 2016 By Julie McNicholls Vale in Entertainment from CAMBRIAN NEWS

A NEW date has been set for a show that was initially deemed too dangerous to perform.

UK/Australian company Doppelgangster announces a one off showing of the controversial site-specific performance, Doppelgangster’s TITANIC. The company performed the piece on Monday at Aberystwyth Arts Centre as part of SITE 2 / SAFLE 2 Festival. It was due to be performed again on Tuesday evening, but was cancelled because of serious concerns about performer safety.

“It’s a show about a terrible tragedy, and we hope that a fraction of the terror comes across in the work,” said TITANIC performer, Tom Payne.

“On this occasion, some of the physical action and the sequences involving lots of water looked more believable than we had anticipated. We’ve worked the concerns through with the Arts Centre, who have been really brilliant, and are delighted to announce that Doppelgangster’s TITANIC will be returning next Wednesday, 16 March, at 6.30pm, looking as dangerous as ever.”

Doppelgangster’s TITANIC is described as an hilarious outdoor show that takes a satirical and troubling look at migration through the frame of Cameron’s 1997 Hollywood tearjerker.

Aberystwyth based academic and performance maker Tom Payne and Australian actor/writer Tobias Manderson-Galvin lead the production in the absurdly comic roles of ‘an aging but handsome Leonardo Dicaprio’, and ‘James/David Cameron’.

“We’ve ripped up the screenplay from Cameron’s film and a maelstrom of other sources including the Titanic DVD Special Features Disk and eyewitness, survivor accounts of people who actually saw the film at the movies. Doppelgangster’s TITANIC is about ‘educated guesses’, ‘operational matters’ and the impossible pursuit of ‘truth,” said Tobias.

The production features an original prog-rock/jazz metal soundtrack from Melbourne based composer Mr Jules Pascoe (The Conglomerate, Husky), and will be performed from a shipping container located outside the Arts Centre, kindly provided by mid-Wales based Dylan Thomas Cranes.

Doppelgangster’s TITANIC was developed with support from National Theatre Wales, and has been presented at Chapter Arts Centre (Cardiff), and in Paris as a part of ArtCOP21, a global festival of cultural activity that ran parallel to the UN Climate Talks in December, 2015. Doppelgangster’s TITANIC is the first piece to be performed by Doppelgangster in Aberystwyth since its official appointment as an Associate Company at the Arts Centre.


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