Campbell, Colin

The Quest of an Idiot


Colin Campbell


‘Gilgamesh, whence do you direct yourself?

You shall not find the life you seek.

For at the creation of mankind

The Gods allotted Death to men’. (Temple 1991: 101).

I propose to stage a section of the ancient Babylonian epic Gilgamesh – He who saw Everything, or He who saw the Deep. The story, well known known to the dramatherapy world (Gersie 2004), is an epic Babylonian poem based on the mythical adventures of an historical King of Uruk who lived and ruled around 2750 BC. (Mitchell 2005: 287). It was written in cuneiform on twelve baked clay tablets; I propose to stage edited excerpts from the final three tablets, charting Gilgamesh’s journey through grief and madness following the death of his friend Enkidu as he searches for the secret of immortality. ‘His quest is the quest of an idiot’ (George 1999: xliii).

The theme of the conference is Traditions in Transition. The Epic of Gilgamesh is all about transition: from despot to noble king; from hero to beast, idiot, fool and, finally, from madness to acceptance and wisdom. Using sparse staging and Sesame’s intimate storytelling technique, I will invite delegates to witness Gilgamesh’s dogged denial of death and to reflect upon the nature of transition in their practice, in their clients’ – and their own – lives.


Gersie, A. (2004) Storymaking in Bereavement – Dragons Fight in the Meadow Jessica Kingsley, London.

George, A. (1999) The Epic of Gilgamesh. England, Penguin Classics.

Mitchell, S. (2005) Gilgamesh. London, Profile Books.

Temple, R. (1991) He Who Saw Everything. London, Rider Books.



presenter photo

Colin Campbell graduated from Central School of Speech and Drama in 2014 after 25 years as an actor and teacher.  His experience as a dramatherapist includes client groups in psychiatric hospitals and street homeless groups. Currently he is working in mainstream primary schools and with a bereavement charity.  Colin performed in ‘False Dawn on the Leaves’ at the ECArTE Conference 2015 hosted in Palermo, Sicily.