Apichatpong Weerasethakul
"The play is a celebration of the stage"

Fever Room is the first piece developed for theatre by the awardwinning Thai filmmaker and artist and a reflection on the blurring of memory and images. In November 2017, shortly before the premiere in Berlin, Apichatpong Weerasethakul
explains to Volksbühne’s film curator Giulio Bursi why sleep is a vehicle for resistance.

Giulio Bursi: This is the first work you have developed for a theatre space. What was the challenge?

Apichatpong Weerasethakul: I approach this piece with cinema in mind, cinema as the light and as a cavernous space with illusionistic ritual, as a catalyst to enter an internal realm. The work has evolved through performances in through performances in various spaces. It never finishes.

GB: You try to produce a metamorphosis of the spectator and its role. Which kind of experience did you want to create and share with your audience?

AW: The audience is both the surface and the action. The act of sitting is monumental for me. The awareness of being in the space, of others and self, of distance is key to pointing out spaces, other than the ones you see. It has a push
and pull effect like lucid dreaming. It allows you to shift perspectives.

GB: Do you consider Fever Room a work that tries to accomplish a deconstruction of cinema and of its apparatus?

AW: It’s a tribute. Cinema is a deconstruction of reality, and Fever Room deconstructs this dynamic. It introduces more axis and calls attention to the void.

GB: Through your practice you created a counter-history of your country’s local and global conflicts. How this is changing your approach to cinema and art?

AW: Even if you don’t want to change, you will change by living in your time. Your heart absorbs the vibration
and reacts.

GB: What’s the political and social meaning of sleep in your works, especially in the last trilogy that we will show at the Volksbühne: Fever Room, Vapour and Cemetery of Splendour?

AW: There are different periods of interests, along with situation at home in Thailand. Cemetery of Splendour is in a way a continuation from Uncle Boonmee where I look at the decline or the disappearance of memory, of history — the representations of history, and to move beyond the everyday life. So one of the keys is dreaming and using our body as a vehicle to escape. But in effect that is (the) resistance.


Mysterious Objects at Midnight

Apichatpong Weerasethakul is one of the most influential and innovative figures in cinema and art today. Born in Bangkok in 1970, he grew up in a rural region of northeastern Thailand. In 1994 he received his bachelor degree in architecture from Khon Kaen University Thailand and in 1997 his master’s degree in filmmaking from the School of
the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1999 he co-founded the production company Kick the Machine. He began making film and video shorts in 1994, and completed his first feature Mysterious Object at Noon (Dokfah Nai Meu Maan) in 2000. In 2004 his film Tropical Malady (2004) won the jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival, while in 2007 his Syndromes
and a Century is the first Thai film to be selected for competition at the Venice Film Festival. In 2008, the French Minister of Culture and Communications bestowed on him the medal of Knight of the Order of Arts and Literature and in 2017 the medal of Commander. His film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives won a Palme d’Or prize at
the Cannes Film Festival in 2010. It was conceived as a part of the multimedia project Primitive, with which Apichatpong tells the story of the north-eastern Thai village of Nabua where, from the 1960s to the early 80s, the Thai army carried out a brutal campaign to suppress the allegedly communist activities of farmers. Based on his most recent feature film Cemetery of Splendour (2015), Fever Room (2016) is his first theatre production. He currently works on a new project set in Colombia.

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