Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Theatertreffen - There Has Possibly Been An Incident

EDIT - On account of the depth of other critical writing about this show, I have written fairly dialectical criticism here. For a more in-depth description of the nuts and bolts of the play I recommend Catherine Love's review over at Exeunt here.


Are we living in a time when the ability to stand out from the crowd has been demonised? If so, are we left with just conformity?

Today, reality, as structured by language, is built on a combination of xenophobia (particularly anti-muslim sentiment), a nihilistic catastrophe fetish played and replayed by the media, embedded twins of patriarchy and capitalism, and of course, our old friend distraction, which deters the pursuit of these things. The most powerful narratives of our time exploit these for political gain. They are, mostly, sites of fear and oppression, and key generators of conformity. Today, the individual is so tied to the institution it is difficult to gain enough distance to look at it, and what it is doing.

There Has Possibly Been An Incident, performed as part of one of Germany's largest theatre institutions, Theatertreffen, addresses this reality and tries to find the language to shatter it.

We enter the theatre to a rock track too loud over the PA and performers busy at work setting up the stage with tape and microphones. Already there's a sense that we're going to work. The actors sit and begin to read, throwing their finished pages away as though language itself is dying as it is spoken. There is a bomb under this show - it's gun-to-the-head theatre.