- A performance installation for 8 performers and 8 spectators by mercimax (2012) www.mercimax.ch
"With the performance installation «8 : 8 ‒ Die Gegenüberstellung» the Zurich theatre collective mercimax presents a sophisticated play of truth and deception, appearance and reality. How much information is needed to turn someone into a suspect? Eight performers are lined up in front of eight spectators who are then asked to form their opinion of those on parade, based on how they look and what they say." (kdi)
We wanted to know how much information one needs from someone, to start to have prejudices about them and what it takes that you think, that the person opposite may be a criminal. The first 10 minutes of the performance are non-verbal: a choreographically worked line-up. We actually tried to start off with being as neutral as possible; just bodies in a neutral space. We offer a lot of time to look at the performers (they reorganise their bodies in space from time to time). But you also get time to look at their profiles or backs. Nothing else - no sound either. So as an audience you are in the role of an observer with almost no other information. Probably you will start to discover details about the performers physics or you start to imagine who these people are - or you get bored (!).
In the second part of the presentation the performers line-up sitting on chairs and tell the audience facts and short stories about who they are - and they generally mention if what they just said is true or not. We generated almost all the information by the performers - or as we call them "Komplizen" or "accomplices". Even the lies they tell, have been invented by them. In the end we "zoom in": audience and performer sit only 30 cm apart. The performer places a headphone on the head of his opposite: You will be told a personal story and listen to a song, which is of personal value for the performer. During this time the performer is looking into your eyes. You only get to sit with one person and you get only his personal story, so it is kind of an exclusive moment. The performers are non-professionals or "real people with true stories".
Length: 25 min.
By: Karin Arnold & Jessica Huber / Sound Technik: Mischa Robert / With: Tom Benke, Reinhard Biehl, Michelle Ettlin, Eva Gagel, Aleksandar Milanovic, Ramin Mosayebi, David Orwoll, Manuel Speck
Photo: Mischa Robert / For more information check: www.mercimax.ch