Those who knew the rules

A collaboration between choreographer Marie-Lena Kaiser and the study programme Physical Theatre at Folkwang University of the Arts

In February 2020 rehearsals with the five students and the choreographer began. The questions were raised of how the construct of a collective works and how said collective would react inside set movement structures. Two weeks before the premiere, however, the rehearsal process was interrupted by the covid pandemic. Fortunately, the group was able to meet again four months later to continue their work. With just one week of rehearsals they finished the piece and celebrated the premiere at the physical theatre festival Fetz 2020 in Maschinenhaus, Essen.

Through defined movement patterns, varying constellations in space and the complex situation that these create the five performers are exposed to a building field of tension. A fixed plan, that the group seems to have agreed upon, begins to falter as each individual is constantly changing. The search for individuality, the desire for norms and a sense of belonging, energetic expenditure and the physical structures building on top of each other become causes for verbal and physical conflicts. These elements are distracting to the point where they demand constant attention and disrupt the attempted structures. What does it mean to decide together as a group? How do you deal with the realisation of a constantly repeating pattern? To what extent can the group emancipate itself from existing structures and how might this process work?

The conditions, under which the piece was finally performed, were massively influenced by the covid pandemic and in turn changed the process and finally the piece itself. How we as people, as a group and as a performer deal with the surrounding situation became part of the work and led to the integration of a virtual level in the piece. The performance is being filmed while it is happening by a visible camera on stage. In the same moment the recording is shown as a projection for the audience to see. The viewer is forced to constantly decide between the immediate actions in front of them and virtual depiction.

Nina Maria Zorn, Julia Berger, Elina Brams Ritzau, Wayne Götz, Faris Saleh
Choreography Marie-Lena Kaiser
Outside Eye Leonie Burgmer
Choreographic Assistance Milena C. Kolbowski
Music Colin Stetson
Costumes Noemi Baumblatt

Photos Oliver Look

  Lights off!