Flotsam, Jetsam and their existential potential

November 30, 2015


In researching leading up to this project I came across an Old Norse tale about the sea, and about the first humans to ever exist being made out of driftwood, Ash and Elm. I’m not sure how historically accurate it is but I thought it was a wonderful image, people made of driftwood, and it lead me to look up descriptions of objects adrift at sea. I’ve always liked the words to describe floating wreckage- Flotsam and Jetsam because they sound bizarre, and in fact when I looked up the differences it led to us potentially forming characters based on them…


Flotsam- floating wreckage of a ship that happened to end up lost at sea by happen chance


Jetsam- part of a ship, or its cargo that is purposely cast overboard or jettisoned to lighten the load in times of distress


This nugget of information led us to the potential for two very different characters that have found themselves in this situation on our raft, and then a lot of interesting possibilities for how they interact, their relationship and how they cope with various situations.


Jetsam’s character description: -


Deliberate, purposeful, clear in focus, knows what she’s doing, capable, hardened to life’s challenges, realist, practical.

Past history - Unwanted.



Flotsam’s character description: -


Chaotic, not deliberate, random/clumsy, imprecise, airy, naive, optimist, playful, doesn’t realize the gravity of her situation, lucky but unsurprised, always lands on her feet, bit hopeless. Past history – Lost.


We want to work with these characters and their context next week, on the set we’ve envisaged, begin to explore what is actually possible on it, and to let it inform the way we move and develop the work.







Photo credit: Peter Burnside

Please reload