A Divine Comedy
Conventionally, Dante’s Divine Comedy is divided into three sections: Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. What heaven is for one might be hell for another – this divine comedy places heaven and hell all at once in the present moment, erasing the differentiation that we can find is so deeply rooted in our life and culture. For this show, Florentina Holzinger has brought together an all-female cast of performers of all ages and different physical, musical and athletic talents to bundle forces in an exploration of the human negotiation of life and death. Starting point is an 80-year-old dancer’s reflection on her life and century-spanning career and the planning and rehearsing of her funeral within this divine comedy. Assisted by two dance teachers, she sends the performers cascading through casting, dance class and training settings, exploring the sujet of the medieval ‘Dance of Death/Totentanz’, which was revived by German expressionist dancers in the 1920s. Inspired by this visual art and dance motive, the performers go on a journey to mirror and explore tensions within their own reality in relationship to gender, aging, sexuality and death. A possible spirituality of the 21st century: In an operatic celebration of life and death, music and dance join forces as art practices that aim to transcend.
This Divine Comedy digests humanity’s struggle with its short lifespan, the dualistic relationship of Thanatos and Eros and an (inefficient) inter-generational transfer of knowledge and wisdom. The life of a dancer as a journey of self-discovery and preparation for one’s own finitude: training, self-optimization, endeavours of beautification and health improvement – in competition and cooperation – aim to inspire the best in humanity despite its shortcomings. Death becomes her!
studied choreography at the School for New Dance Development (SNDO) in Amsterdam. After many well-received cooperations with Vincent Riebeek (Kein Applaus für Scheiße and Schönheitsabend, among others) and several solo projects, she worked on a trilogy about body discipline, with which she is still on tour: Recovery, Apollon and, most recently, TANZ. Dangerous stunts, spectacular circus acts, splatter scenes or extreme martial arts – Florentina Holzinger’s work can be situated at the intersection of high culture and so-called entertainment culture, while it can also be read as a continuous feminist manifesto. TANZ, which premiered at TQW in 2019, was the only Austrian production to be invited to Berliner Theatertreffen in 2020 and was also awarded the Nestroy for best director. Holzinger’s Étude for an Emergency. Composition for Ten Bodies and a Car was shown at Münchner Kammerspiele in 2020. As of 2021/22, Florentina Holzinger will be part of René Pollesch’s artistic team at Volksbühne Berlin.
Concept, direction Florentina Holzinger Performance, choreography Foxxy Angel, Amanda Bailey, Linda Blomqvist, Renée Copraij, Beatrice Cordua, Paige A. Flash, Alba Gentili-Tedeschi, Noam Gorbat, Ria Higler, Florentina Holzinger, Susanne Jablonski, Annina Machaz, Sarah Pöcksteiner, Courtney May Robertson, Audrey Merilus, Xana Novais, Maja Osojnik, Bärbel Schwarz, Miranda van Kuilenburg, Anna Tierney, Linnéa Tullius, Isabelle Volckaert Composition, Sound design Maja Osojnik & Stefan Schneider Scenography Nikola Knežević Dramaturgy Renée Copraij, Sara Ostertag Dramaturgy Ruhrtriennale Sara Abbasi Dramaturgy Staatstheater Kassel Dirk Baumann Real choreography Ty Boomershine Light design Anne Meeussen, Max Kraußmüller Video design Noam Gorbat Technical direction Anne Meeussen, Stephan Werner Stage technician, hoists operator Dörte Wilfroth Stage assistance Camilla Smolders, Nicole Marianna Wytyczak Music coach Almut Lustig Stunt coordination Stunt-Factory, Leo Plank (Haeger Stunt & Wireworks) Hurdle trainers Valerie Kleiser, Ulrike Kleinschmidt Taxidermy coach Lydia Mäder Wood sports coach Josef Laier Outside eye Fernando Belfiore Production intern Kassel Lisa Birkenbach Management, international distribution Something Great, Berlin Production management Ricardo Frayha – A commission by Ruhrtriennale. Produced by Something Great, Spirit, Ruhrtriennale and Staatstheater Kassel. In co-production with Tanzquartier Wien, Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg -Platz, Berlin, deSingel, Antwerp, Theater Freiburg and Julidans. Funded by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes and the Municipal Department of Cultural Affairs, Vienna. With the friendly support of Rudolf Augstein Stiftung, Austrian Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport, documenta Halle (Kassel), Montévidéo (Marseille). Thanks to Uwe Leifheit, ImPulsTanz Vienna.
Notes: We recommend a minimum age of 18 to attend the performance. There is nudity and sexual acts in the play. We also note that stroboscopic effects are used in this performance.
Currently, the 2G rule applies (vaccinated or recovered).