Music theatre as an art installation

Conceptional exposé 
REMAINDER — PLAY is based on the novel „Remainder“ (German title „8½ Millionen“), which was published in 2005 and forms the ideal structural foundation. In his début novel, the British theorist and author Tom McCarthy devotes himself to the problem of the simulation and reconstruction of blank spaces. The novel tells the story of a nameless hero, who has been traumatised by an accident which „involved something falling from the sky“. Eight and a half million pounds richer due to a compensation settlement but hopelessly estranged from the world around him, the protagonist spends his time obsessively reconstructing and re-enacting vaguely remembered scenes and situations from his past, such as a large building with piano music, the familiar sound and smell of liver frying or lethargic cats on roofs. These re-enactments are driven by a need for authenticity.

The text questions the idea of the choreography of day-to-day life in the form of feedback loops, manipulations and fictionalisations of realities and investigates the relationship between physical presence and mediatised reality, authenticity and reconstruction. Under the spotlight of development are the shifts from realities described and the increasing absurdity and megalomania of the protagonist, which impact like an ironic commentary on all possible forms of expansion madness motivated by todays capitalism.

Tellingly, it is a crack in the wall that triggers the memories and déjà vu of the protagonist. Therefore, the metaphor of the image of the crack — in the sense of unstable, fragile and brittle situations — is the starting point for the conception of composition, text and space. The novel serves as structural inspiration for the development of the piece, in order to reconstruct the world described in which the „invisible“ protagonist lives. An essential part of the staging concept is the  superimposition of fictional and everyday-real images: The described deja-vu’s and the protagonist’s memories are translated into researched photographs of everyday urban situations. The photographs form the basis and a ‚foil‘ for the scenic and scenographic elaboration of the production.

Here the development focuses on work on the interface of language, sound, noise and space, so as to open up the „cracks“ that have appeared in the sense of friction surfaces and therefore to create access that can be experienced both metaphorically and physically to possible „cracks“ in our society. The goal is a form of new music theatre somewhere between opera, installation and concert, which has a non-linear, decentralised structure, yet in spite of this enables the story to be told.

The obvious analogy with Georges Perec’s work, „La Vie mode d’emploi“, 1978 (English: Life, a user manual) could also be further imagined as a debate with intertextuality, a search for new storytelling methods and the ideas of the OuLiPo group.

Artistic direction Till Wyler von Ballmoos, Tassilo Tesche | Production management Maxine Devaud

Scroll Up