Rauschen II : a show

Fragmentary theatre from mixed ability company, Blaumeier-Atelier.

For this show, the actors took control…

Wanting to make something that connected directly with their own lives, the company decided on the theme of pressure. The difficulties and frustrations they have to confront on a daily basis, mostly as people living with physical or learning disabilities.

Wanting spontaneity, uncertainty, they decided on an improvisational approach, so no two performances are quite the same.

Wanting control, they dispensed with conventional direction.

A safe space. At its edges, the lurking danger of expectation. Two long rows of seats on either side, the audience contemplating itself, seeing our faces as the actors see them. Black and white – the floor, soft black carpet. Everything else, white – woollen clouds lying in puddled reflection, dense spikey grass of plastic cable-ties growing at each end. A simple rope swing hanging from the ceiling. Another rope coiled on the floor, waiting to strike.

The actors, all in white, move around the space and begin to tell their stories, intersecting, undulating between calm and chaos. As the programme says: “Perfectionism, competition, pressure, expectation.” An older man is chased and set upon, a building sense of menace. Three men tussle for the position of First on a podium. A woman wanders the room clutching a pillow, her baby. Another, lost in herself, endlessly matches letters across two pages of a book, marking them out with her pen. The musician tries to convene a choir.

A man buries his head beneath a cloud, counting, counting, counting, 164, 165, 166 …

Frustrations build to moments of white noise, that AAAARGH when you just can’t take it anymore. Binding audience and cast together in something we can all relate to. Some remarkably expressive acting – haunting, deliberate – many stories told more through bodily movement than text. Moods built up, dashed down again. The audience laughing, empathizing, puzzling. Truly compelling, I could happily have watched this for hours.

rauschen blaumeier mixed ability theatre
Photo © Laura Müller-Henning

Chatting with some of the cast and the two directors, Simone Zinke and Maxi Milena Heinrich, in the Blaumeier café afterwards, it was clear that the reduced direction was not without its own frustrations. “Both devised and improvised, the show became deliberately loose,” said Maxi. “We were trying to find a new way to make work as a group, shifting the control to the actors, and it took us a while to make it work. Our approach changed tack a few times but ultimately, we were there to act as a mirror and ensure that the work stayed authentic whilst not crossing the line between Theatre and Life. And the actors improvise their pieces so every show is different.”

… 167, 168, 169. A woman sits on the floor frantically breathing life into white inflatable balls, gathering them to her, holding them all, as she blows. Some of the valves are pulled out by a man who wants the balls to be individuals. He organizes them precisely, placing them in the hands of four people. Who won’t hold them still. Well, that’s individuals for you.

greyspots
Photo credits
Homepage   :  Production picture detail. Original photo © Laura Müller-Hennig.
Main photo :  Production picture. Photo © Laura Müller-Hennig
(Photos courtesy of Blaumeier-Atelier)

 

02 March 2018:
Rauschen II 

Blaumeier-Atelier, Bremen                                                                           

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