Ophelia’s Got Talent
‘Pour water on thyself: thus shalt thou be a fountain to the universe.’ – Kenneth Anger
In the twilight of the ‘Age of Aquarius’, there’s a shift away from technological innovation towards humanitarian concerns and collective responsibilities. The narratives of Ophelia’s heiresses have inevitably resurfaced to float like a carpet of algae above the depths and abysses they at once cover.
The wet terrain the stage has turned into provides the training ground for working out how to become like Ophelia – embodying the laws operative in this special environment and satisfying the fantasies and desires of others are elements in an ambivalent game Ophelia masters brilliantly. The narratives of her ancestors, Leda, Melusine, Undine, nymphs, nereids and sirens, have left a distinctive mark on contemporary biographies. Excellent dancers as they are, they love music and lure us into the water dragging us to the lower depths to make us look into the mirror of Venus. Yet the actual place of their significance remains untold; it has drowned and sunk to the ground. Only in the process of decomposition do the bodies float to the water’s surface, adrift, unless they’re recovered or mouldering away to become one with nature finally.
Water is the element of assimilation and adaptation, a symbol of the boundless capacity to expand, of eternal, inseparable unity with the outside world. Ichnographically, water has been associated with womanhood – and with death: a figure standing next to a quiet pond is a cypher for the domestication of female subjectivity; whitecaps on the sea’s surface stand for the result of her disintegration and disengagement, a mermaid’s fishtail is a metaphor for denied female sexuality. An oceanic landscape arises, full of allusions, cultural and historical references to all water creatures and drowned strangers. This scenario not only asks whether training and physical exercise can help us escape the precarious circumstances of the present, with climate catastrophes and other disasters looming. It also invites speculations on future life forms that will have assimilated these conditions, transformed them, and created new forms of being.
Fluctuation, reflection, reproduction, healing, and violence are the central themes of the new show by Florentina Holzinger and her multi-disciplinary, multi-generational company, which is a physical study in the psychology of water in the 21st century.
A Tanzquartier Wien event
In cooperation with
studied choreography at the Amsterdam School for New Dance Development (SNDO). 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. At the same time, 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 Austrian theatre prize Nestroy for Best Director. Holzinger’s Étude for an Emergency. Composition for Ten Bodies and a Car was shown at Münchner Kammerspiele in 2020. Her most recent piece at TQW was A Divine Comedy which premiered at Ruhrtriennale. Florentina Holzinger is part of René Pollesch’s artistic team at Volksbühne Berlin.
With Melody Alia, Saioa Alvarez Ruiz, Inga Busch, Renée Copraij, Sophie Duncan, Paige A. Flash, Florentina Holzinger, Annina Machaz, Xana Novais, Netti Nüganen, Urška Preis, Zora Schemm Princess Tweedle Needle And Stella Adriana Bergmann, Greta Lou Grip, Isadora Kleiner, Lea Schünemann, Nike Strunk, Laila Yoalli Waschke Concept, direction Florentina Holzinger Sound design Stefan Schneider Music Paige A. Flash, Urška Preis, Stefan Schneider Stage design Nikola Knežević Lighting design Anne Meeussen Video design Melody Alia, Jens Crull, Max Heesen Live camera Melody Alia Dramaturgy Renée Copraij, Sara Ostertag, Fernando Belfiore, Michele Rizzo Dramaturgy Volksbühne Johanna Kobusch Production management Dana Tucker, Katharina Wallisch, Stephan Werner Tour management Dana Tucker Management, international distribution Katharina Wallisch – A production by Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz and Spirit, co-produced by Productiehuis Theater Rotterdam, Tanzquartier Wien, Arsenic Lausanne, asphalt Festival, Gessnerallee Zürich, Kampnagel Internationales Sommerfestival and DE SINGEL Antwerpen. With kind support from the Municipal Department of Cultural Affairs, Vienna, and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport. Thanks to RambaZamba Theatre Berlin.
Remaining tickets will be available at the evening box office. Waiting numbers will be given out from 60 minutes before showtime.
In German and English with surtitles
We recommend a minimum age of 18 to attend the performance.
Please note: The show contains self-injurious acts, blood, needles, strobe lights, and explicit depiction or descriptions of physical or sexual violence.
During the performance of Ophelia’s Got Talent, child well-being is ensured. Psychologists and parents supervise the children involved. They can only see the part of the show where they are on stage.