Theatres

Ophelia’s Got Talent with Slovenian Artist Urška Preis

15. 09. - 24. 10. 2022

Großes Haus Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, 10178 Berlin

Pour water on thyself: thus shalt thou be a fountain to the universe. (Kenneth Anger)

In the twilight of the ‘Age of Aquarius’, there’s a shift away from technological innovation towards humanitarian concerns and collective responsibilities, and the narratives of Ophelia’s heiresses have inevitably resurfaced to float like a carpet of algae above the depths and abysses they at once cover.

The wet terrain the stage has turned into provides the training ground for working out how to become like Ophelia – embodying the laws operative in this special environment and satisfying fantasies and desires of others are elements in an ambivalent game which Ophelia masters brilliantly. The narratives of her ancestors, Leda, Melusine, Undine, nymphs, nereids and sirens, have left a distinctive mark on contemporary biographies. Excellent dancers as they are, they love music and like to lure us into the water dragging us to the lower depths to make us look into the mirror of Venus. Yet the true place of their significance remains untold, it has drowned and sunk to the ground. It is only in the process of decomposition that the bodies float to the surface of the water, adrift unless they’re recovered, or mouldering away to finally become one with nature.

Water is the element of assimilation and adaptation, a symbol of the boundless capacity to expand, of an eternal, inseparable unity with the outside world. Iconographically, water has been associated with womanhood – and with death: a figure standing next to a quiet pond is a cipher for the domestication of female subjectivity; whitecaps on the sea’s surface stand for the result of her disintegration and disengagement; a mermaid’s fishtail is a metaphor for denied female sexuality. An oceanic landscape arises, full of allusions, cultural and historical references to all manner of water creatures and drowned strangers, a scenario that not only asks whether training and physical exercise can help us escape the precarious circumstances of the present with climate catastrophes and other disasters looming. It also invites speculations on future life forms that will have assimilated these conditions, transformed them and created new forms of being.

Fluctuation, reflection, reproduction, healing, and violence – these are the central themes of the new show by Florentina Holzinger and her multi-disciplinary, multi-generational company, which is a physical study in the psychology of water in the 21st century.

With: Melody Alia, Saioa Alvarez Ruiz, Inga Busch, Renée Copraij, Sophie Duncan, Fibi Eyewalker, Paige A. Flash, Florentina Holzinger, Annina Machaz, Xana Novais, Netti Nüganen, Urška Preis, Zora Schemm
And: Stella Adriana Bergmann, Greta Grip, Golda Kaden, Izzy Kleiner, Lea Schünemann, Nike Strunk, Laila Yoalli Waschke, Zoë Willens
Concept & Directing: Florentina Holzinger
Sounddesign: Stefan Schneider
Music: Paige A. Flash, Urška Preis, Stefan Schneider
Stage Design: Nikola Knežević
Lighting Design: Anne Meeussen
Videodesign und Live-Video: Melody Alia
Dramaturgy: Renée Copraij, Sara Ostertag, Fernando Belfiore, Michele Rizzo
Dramaturgie Volksbühne: Johanna Kobusch
Produktionsmanagement: Dana Tucker, Stephan Werner
Management & International Distribution Something Great: Katharina Wallisch
A production by Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz and Spirit, co-produced by Productiehuis Theater Rotterdam, Tanzquartier Wien, Arsenic Lausanne, asphalt Festival, Gessnerallee Zürich, Kampnagel Internationales Sommerfestival and DE SINGEL Antwerpen.

With funding by Kulturabteilung der Stadt Wien and Bundeskanzleramt für Kunst und Kultur.