Last Train To Oxford (Someone Called Derrida)

September 2, 2014 at 9:24 pm

a dramatised adaptation of John Schad’s documentary novel by John Schad & Fred Dalmasso


OLD FIRE STATION, 40 George Street, Oxford, OX1 2AQ

Someone called Jacques Derrida, the philosopher, someone called him on the phone, someone who was dead.  A mystery, he thought, a mystery that begins in 1968 when Derrida visits Oxford and there he dies, several times.  Murder, he thought.  So too thought my father, an Oxonian, in his final nightmare years.  And so we investigate, not just the Oxford of the 1960s but the Oxford of the 1930s and an English public school in the middle of the Second World War. Question: can one die of someone else’s memory?


. ‘the play is a deeply moving (for being playful, and restrained) search for the truth hidden in the confabulations of a memory that may not be trusted any more, an attempt to communicate with a father with whom direct communication becomes impossible, or subject to doubt; a sort of Synecdoche, Oxford where it is not one’s self but, even more alienating, one’s father who is being sought; the story of a new boy looking for an old boy who is supposed to live inside him, whose memory might or might not be dead, with whom it may be possible to communicate only if the new boy, whose memory is supposed to carry the story of the old boy, lets his memory die the same death as the old boy’s may have, or if the new boy believes the old boy’s nightmares tell the truth; or perhaps the old boy can be found in the memory of the books that have burnt him. (

. ‘very classy in terms of writing, dialogue, appearance, acting (especially the acting!)…

very captivating, and at times, very emotive (the ending especially was, at the same time, suavely and compassionately done). 

Sort of made me think that it could’ve been written by Beckett, had he carried on trying to write like Joyce…’ (an Oxford Playhouse spectator)

. ‘I felt I was in the presence of something immense’

Someone Called Derrida

The novel Someone Called Derrida is a real-life murder mystery that focuses on not only the famous French philosopher, Jacques Derrida’s complex relationship to Oxford but also the final years in the life of the author’s own father, 1990-1996 – years overwhelmed by dementia, nightmare and memories of, inter alia, the public school at which he had boarded during the Second World War.  Every factual detail is, as far as the author can tell, correct; moreover, the voices which surround the author are verbatim: Jacques Derrida’s words come directly from a single book of his called The Post Card (1979); the nightmare-words of the author’s father are as transcribed in the 1990s by the author’s mother; and the words that detail life both in Oxford and at the boarding school all come direct from published accounts.   All references for all details and quotations can be found in the book. (

·  ‘an extraordinary performance’ (Sir Frank Kermode)

·  ‘caught my imagination straight away’ (Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury)

·  ‘an amazing book… one of the most original on Derrida’ (J. Hillis Miller)

·  ‘a remarkable novel’ (Ian Macmillan, on BBC Radio 3′s ‘The Verb’)

Biennale Bernard-Marie Koltès – Metz, October 2014

August 12, 2014 at 2:56 pm

We have been invited to present our work on Bernard-Marie Koltès’ play In The Solitude Of The Cotton Fields at the Biennale Bernard-Marie Koltès in Metz on 22nd and 23rd October 2014.

Watch the trailer on vimeo:

This event will take the form of two public rehearsals and a 45′ performance-installation at the end of each day.


In The Solitude Of The Cotton FieldsSolitude_Baines-Dalmasso

a performance-installation

devised by Fred Dalmasso and Benjamin Hughes

text translated by Roger Baines & Fred Dalmasso

performed by David ‘Stickman’ Higgins and Tim Tracey

In the Solitude of the Cotton Fields – extracts.

December 20, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Extracts from a work-in-progress audio adaptation of a translation of Bernard-Marie Koltès’ “In the Solitude of the Cotton Fields” – translated and adapted by Roger Baines and Frederic Dalmasso. Stream and download here: