Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Theater Basel | Schlaraffenland (the land of milk and honey)

In Schlaraffenland, Philipp Löhle applies Grimms land of milk and honey to todays world.
On stage there is a large house and there lives a family that has everything and lives a luxurious life. They can get anything they desire whenever they desire it and the only thing they worry about is their lives and their luxury problems.
During the whole play you can see people dressed in black walking around the house and behind the scenes, providing the family with everything they wish for.
When one night the son has an experience of enlightenment, his whole conception of the world changes and he starts to realize that everything he consumes has to be produced somewhere else by someone and that whenever something comes cheap somebody else has to pay the price.
For us this is a very important and current play as it gives everyone in the audience the option to overthink their own consumer behaviour.
When at the very beginning the narrator addresses the audience directly, during the play there is no direct confrontation between actors and audience. In the first part of the play all of the actors (except for the narrator and the people in black) wear large masks, which gives them a certain anonymity and creates a distance between the actors and the audience. During the play, the masks are removed and the characters become more like real persons and therefore it makes it easier to connect with them. Also when the masks are removed the costumes change to 70ies hippie outfits, what we think is very suitable for the topic of changing one's view and protesting against the system, it is even more noticeable because the one who has changed his view is the only one not dressed like this.
The last part of the play is again more confrontational and even provocative, giving many thought-provoking impulses.
The actors where very strong and we liked the production a lot as we felt there was a certain development in the storyline that brought the topic closer and closer to the audience until it confronted us directly in the end, leaving us with much to reflect upon and think about. As todays consumer behaviour and the indifference towards certain problems are topics that concern us a lot, this play impressed us very much and we hope that it will influence many people who see it at least a little bit in their way of thinking and consuming.

production: Claudia Bauer
stage and costumes: Dirk Thiele
stage setting assistance: Frederik Constantin Schweizer
music: Peer Baierlein
light: Cornelius Hunziker
dramatic composition: Sabrina Hofer

Mario Fuchs as SON / BLACK MAN
Vincent Glander as SON
Leonie Merlin Young as DAUGHTER
Florian von Manteuffel as FATHER
Nicola Kirsch as MOTHER
Pia Händler as SONS WIFE
Ingo Tomi as UNCLE

© picture: Sandra Then

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Theater Basel | Idomeneus

Idomeneus, a play by Roland Schimmelpfennig plays at the Theater Basel now for the first time in Switzerland.
From the first minute the play is very intense, in the first scene the actors are standing very close together as one coated crowd and they speak, whisper and shout together as one chorus, only illuminated by a dimmed light.
The use of light and darkness is very strong in this play and at the back wall there are led-lights arranged in a circle that create emoticons and other symbols to emphasize the mood in the different scenes of the play.
The Greek King Idomeneus who runs into a storm with his men after winning the Trojan war, makes a pact with a voice from the gods to kill the first creature he meets when he survives the storm and reaches Crete. As the first creature he sees is his own son the promise seems impossible to keep.
The end of the story is not clear and the play offers us different versions of Idomeneus' fate and leaves it open to the audience to decide.
It is very impressive how the actors work together in this play and the rhythm and the strong precise language create a very captivating atmosphere.

production: Miloš Lolić
stage: Evi Bauer
costume: Jelena Miletić
composition: Nevena Glušica
light: Roland Heid Stefan Erny
dramatic composition: Almut Wagner

Cathrin Störmer, Thomas Reisinger, Barbara Horvath, Elias Eilinghoff, Katja Jung, Urs Peter Halter, Liliane Amuat, Thomas Reisinger, Michael Wächter, Lisa Stiegler

©picture: Sandra Then

Monday, 1 May 2017

Fashion Revolution Day Zurich 2017

 Last week was the Fashion revolution week. Starting April 24, with the sad anniversary of the terrible tragedy at the rana plaza in Bangladesh in 2013, this week was dedicated to a more conscious and fair approach to fashion under the hashtag #whomademyclothes.
Saturday was the fashion revolution day in Zurich, where many conscious and sustainable fair fashion brands came together to present their fashion and raise awareness for how fashion is produced.
For us it is important to know exactly where and under what conditions the products we use and the fashion we wear are produced and we think it is very important that people are aware that nothing ever comes for free and so most of the times when a price seems too cheap to be true, it actually is on the expense of somebody else.
These brands do not only bring us fair, conscious and sustainable fashion at a fair price but also they are very transparent about the manufacturing route.
Beside the fair fashion markets there were also many workshops on how to reuse old clothes, how to produce zero waste washing powder and many more.

These are some of our impressions and only a small selection from all the wonderful brands from the Fashion Revolution Day in Zurich:

Jungle Folk

(every item is only produced upon request and it comes with a dustbag that declares every minute of work that was done for that specific item)

Nude Attitude

Felix Doll

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Theater Basel | Satyagraha

Satyagraha, an opera by Philip Glass based on the book by Philip glass and Constance de Jong plays at the Theater Basel now with the Komische Oper Berlin and Vlaamse Opera Antwerpen as co-producers.
The whole opera is in Sanskrit, with German and English surtitles. 
The verses used for the opera are all from the ancient Indian epic poem, the Bhagavad Gita, which is one of the central texts of Hinduism.
The opera had something mesmerizing and sometimes almost meditative for us.
From the first moment the dancers from the company Eastman were incredibly powerful and the music was enchanting, for us Glass' minimal music is the perfect music to tell Gandhis story and the repetitive character of the music is what creates an almost meditative effect.
The stage consisted of one large platform held by wire ropes that pulled the platform into different positions during the show.
Satyagraha took us on a time travel through Gandhis early years and through everything that influenced him, from the author Tolstoi to the newspaper Indian Opinion to the march from Newcastle into the Transvaal to defy the Immigrants Regulation Act of 1913 we accompanied him through all these stations, up until the conflicts of the present day, where the dancers confront the audience with present problems of acceptance and tolerance by writing words on their bare bodies.
Rolf Romei as Gandhi was pushed and pulled and beaten up through the different scenes, but with an almost stoic calm he continued to chant his verses even when he was upside down.
The traditional costumes by Jan-Jan Van Essche were amazing and the colours were very strong, together with the use of light created a very special atmosphere that made us feel like we were back in the early days when the opera takes place.
All the singers, the choir and the dancers were absolutely magnificent. It was an incredibly powerful opera that completely captivated us from beginning to ending and especially the last scene, with Gandhi meditating on the upheaved platform touched us very much.

musical direction: Jonathan Stockhammer
production and choreography: Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
stage: Henrik Ahr
costume: Jan-Jan Van Essche
light: Roland Edrich
choral conduction: Henryk Polus
dramatic composition: Pavel B. Jiracek

Rolf Romei as M.K. GANDHI
Cathrin Lange as MISS SCHLESEN
Maren Favela as KASTURBAI
Andrew Murphy as MR. KALLENBACH
Nicholas Crawley as PARSI RUSTOMJI / KRISHNA
Anna Rajah as MRS. NAIDOO
Sofia Pavone as MRS ALEXANDER
Karl-Heinz Brandt as ARJUNA

Jason Kittelberger, Georgios Koatsifakis, Kazutomi "Tsuki" Kozuki, Elias Lazaridis, Nicola Leahey, Josepha Madkoi, Nemo Oeghoede, Shintaro Oue, Patrick Williams Seebacher (Twoface), James Vu Anh Pham, Ema Yuasa

choir of the Theater Basel
symphony orchestra Basel

© pictures: Sandra Then