VOLKSBÜHNE
Berlin

"Albert Serra, what can this 2,500-year-old
theatre ritual right now bring forth?"

"…to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure. Theatre depends on its public, whose power determines everything. Everyone is just barely managing to cope: actors, the author, the director … but also the diverse, neurotic, amenable and yet dissatisfied public. As a performance of life, as a unique, unrepeatable moment, the experience of theatre cannot die. It relies on a highly tendentious routine seducing a jaded and capricious public. It is, as Brecht said, the only means we have of both stylising and judging life. Today’s theatre confronts the public with its own boredom, its own meaninglessness and denies it any indulgence of dreaming. The ritual remains vital as long as nonsense is accepted in all its radicality and destructive power. Here, the fabrications and formulas of journalism and politics will get you nowhere. Contemporary theatre celebrates the nonsense in the lives of its artists and spectators. When critically received, formal nonsense is conducive to celebration. Without drama, without lyric poetry, theatre comes to life again and offers catharsis. I saw one of the very last remnants of a theatre of innocence and community, in a production by Kazuo Ohno at the Cloître des Célestins at the Avignon Festival in 1994. I cannot remember what it was called. I was nineteen years old. I realised that a form of life, a kind of theatre, a particular kind of innocence and total communication between public and creator that had quietly survived the whole twentieth century was dying. Other currents, for better or worse, were still trying to hang on to this utopia, but it was doomed. I experienced it as an apotheosis of the senses, of poetry and of total physicality, something truly unrepeatable. Today our only certainty is that we will fail to communicate with the public. The loneliness is extreme. Everything is more complex and more subtle…"

Information and Tickets for Liberté

To accompany Liberté, the Volksbühne is also presenting the 101 hour-long film that Albert Serra created during dOCUMENTA (13), Three Little Pigs, from 23 February to 11 March, as well as his film about the last days of Casanova, Historia de la meva mort (Story of My Death), on 27 February.

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