Photos: Dong-Ha Choe
The recent project is a collective experimental theatre evening devised by students from the set design course. It enables rooms to speak and characters to voice their respective stories.
The project has taken place in the UdK’s own theatre, named UNI.T. The space, designed by Paul Baumgarten, invites a shift away from traditional theatre conventions. The team of six set-design students tread new contextual and visual ground, redefine the boundaries of a theatre space, light it from many different perspectives and incorporate it as a fellow player or antagonist.
The functional architecture of the theatre building is reimagined and given new form; it is able to express its character and has the ability to convert its views into action and play.
What if the room’s independent existence flows into a family-drama, as it does in one student’s performance? “There they are: the stubborn ass... the saucy minx... the strongman... and also the inert mass. And then there is this room, this theatrical instrument capable of astonishing diversity. Is this theatre space the goody-two-shoes or the black sheep of the family?”
The actors call the theatre home, but all its visitors are strangers; audiences who appear and mingle in the theatre-space by chance.
The theme of the project is drawn from a series of conversations. Propelled by the texts of Donna Haraway, Jorge Luis Borges and Franz Kafka, the group have grappled with the ambivalent relationship between man, nature, animals and technology and the fears they engender. In the twilight of the Anthropocene — i.e. the age in which humanity became an important and influential factor on the biological, geological and atmospheric development of the world — humanity appears to have been robbed of the necessity of its own existence. With “Biotopes” we tell stories to do with humans, but also expose them as fully dependant on the state of the world they inhabit.
Speculations around the rooms’ awakening and adoption of human perceptions and character are based on ancient fables, where animals come to represent people and resolve their conflicts.
Premiere and performances on 15 & 16 January 2019 – each at 5pm and 8.30pm – at UNI.T
Created and performed by Anneke Frank, Charlotta Hench, Louise Pons, Mirjam Schaal, Helene Scheithe and Alexandra Vasilieva
And Hartmut Meyer, Jens Schmidl, Jakob Niedermeier, Sangwha Park
Saskia Mommertz, Jana Haberkern, Iris Christidi, Tatjana Reeh, Iven Fenker, Vanda Hehr, Dorothea Zwetkow, Khalil Riahi, Marion Alessandra Becker, Nip Man Teng, Wieland Lemke, Alissa Artjuchin, Susanna Rydz, Lucjian Busch, Katri Saloniemi, Olivia Schrøder, Louis Caspar Schmitt, Seongji Jang, Yazan Melhem, Nikolaj Gerstenfeldt, Hanna Kovács, Paula Meuthen, Madalena Wallenstein, Kamila Suwalski, Erhard Schwalbe, Jara Nassar, Paula Breuer, Celine Meral, Aybüke Kara, Sara Ubukata
Kindly supported by Deutscher Bühnenverein, KKWV, Fachschaft Darstellende Künste and Frauenförderung der UdK Berlin.