All aboard for a socially accelerated journey on the You Me Bum Bum Train: Metaxis, Transformation, Jouissance

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


On a rainy Saturday evening in March 2016, I entered the former Foyles bookshop on Charing Cross Road in London’s West End, beginning my experience of the immersive theatre piece You Me Bum Bum Train (YMBBT). YMBBT has become something of a cult show, an experience that has had relatively few ‘passengers’; it is for an audience of one with a cast of many. I embarked on a journey where I was cast as the central protagonist, being hurled from scene to scene in a manner reminiscent of 1980s TV show Quantum Leap. I played – amongst other roles - a politician, TV chef, vet, rock star, and even attended my own funeral. As all passengers sign a legally binding document agreeing that the contents of the show will not be revealed, a discussion of this production might seem problematic although it prompts an interesting debate. YMBBT exemplifies a world in which everyday experience is compressed, thus creating the illusion that many lifetimes can be lived within a single lifespan. While this may be a true reflection of the pace of the world and our apparent need for instant gratification, I suggest it is a symptom of a socially accelerated culture (Rosa, 2013) in which we lose a resonance with the ‘real’ world, that may ultimately conceal an abandonment of being (Heidegger, 2012). This paper explores how participatory and immersive performance such as YMBBT is part of an accelerated, networked society (Hassan, 2009; 2012) and whether it offers opportunities for personal transformation as we experience what Boal (1995) terms ‘metaxis’, in which it is possible to simultaneously inhabit two worlds. Or, does it result in a kind of ‘jouissance’ (Noys, 2014), whereby we take both pain and pleasure from the demands and constraints of an accelerated existence?
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2017
EventTroubling Time : An Exploration of Temporality in the Arts - University of Manchester, Manchester , United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Jun 20172 Jun 2017


ConferenceTroubling Time
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • social acceleration
  • duration
  • Heidegger
  • Boal
  • metaxis
  • jouissance
  • immersive theatre


Dive into the research topics of 'All aboard for a socially accelerated journey on the You Me Bum Bum Train: Metaxis, Transformation, Jouissance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this