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Photo: Julian Röder

Women in Trouble
by Susanne Kennedy

Drama
English

The digital generates a horizon of consciousness in Susanne Kennedy's works. Her productions touch a raw nerve that the digital generates in our understanding: How will we communicate in the future? What can we still refer to? In so doing, Kennedy uses the theatre as a place of transformation, of mobility. We're now transforming the first work she directed for the Volksbühne Berlin into a digital form: Women in Trouble, a hallucinogenic cabinet of duplication, finds its way from the stage to the screen.

That's where the stage turns now. Angelina Dreem One sits on a sofa in high-gloss reality TV aesthetics. Angelina Dreem’s life is a soap opera. But her life is also real. Angelina Dreem is sick. She has cancer. Throughout the play, her new doppelgängers appear continually, falling from one rabbit-hole reality into the next: Could the next life be a better one?

Women in Trouble is the first production that Susanne Kennedy developed for the Volksbühne, back in 2017. “I am not the least bit interested in irony.”- Kennedy wants to return to the essence of the theatre. She dissects her actors’ bodies and texts; they wear masks, their voices come from recordings. The play’s entire linguistic system is deconstructed beforehand and then reconstructed anew: Every sentence of the text, but also every hum or clearing of a throat is recorded individually before the rehearsals. The speakers only know their part of the dialogue – they’re alienated from any conventional speaking situation. In close collaboration with sound designer Richard Janssen an audio composition emerges, which gives the playback during productions this peculiar atmosphere. In this way Kennedy tests the presence and ritual character of the theatre again and again. “The subject is no longer a topic! The things we have invented to represent people on stage no longer work. To find oneself is to lose oneself.”

That’s why Women in Trouble calls upon the idea of the Anthropocene once again. It implies that humankind has become a geological factor. We are not only scratching the surface of nature, but changing it profoundly. Nature and culture, creatures and technical objects are creating a new balance of power. Kennedy says this is the moment to let go.

In Women in Trouble, the doppelgängers rotate through germ-free stage sets: Is it a hyper-realistic Scientology centre, virtual cancer clinic – or already the afterlife? “We have the need to gather in a common place to witness how people love, suffer, kill and die. Actors are like stalkers: they take us along into a ‘space of desires’. They are familiar with places where we feel alien,” says Kennedy.

Premiere: 30.11.2017

Cast
With: Suzan Boogaerdt, Marie Groothof, Niels Kuiters, Julie Solberg, Anna Maria Sturm, Bianca van der Schoot, Thomas Wodianka

Director & Script: Susanne Kennedy
Sounddesign & artistic cooperation: Richard Janssen
Stage design: Lena Newton
Costumes: Lotte Goos
Lighting: Rainer Casper
Video: Rodrik Biersteker

Coproduction: Theater Rotterdam
Video editing for stream: Richard Janssen
Thanks to Ruth Tromboukis

media

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Photo: Julian Röder

Photo: Julian Röder

Photo: Julian Röder

Photo: Julian Röder

Photo: Julian Röder

Photo: Julian Röder

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