TO EXIST ONLY IN THE GAZE OF THE OTHER, HOW DOES THAT FEEL?
Using the text On Animals by the Austrian writer Elfriede Jelinek (who was rewarded with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2004) and a group of male performers as a starting point, director Rebekka Nilsson makes a visual, physical movement composition on ‘looking’ and ‘being looked at’. In On Animals, we hear a woman who is getting older, and as a result, is disappearing slowly. Now that her body no longer complies to the standard, it is as if she is no longer seen, which for her, equals not existing. Jelinek combines the text of the woman getting older with (real) phone conversations held between a Viennese escort service and its customers, in which women are spoken off as if they are merchandise.
In this RAW-project, Nilsson explores how a complex text such as Jelinek’s can be made tangible, by connecting it to a strong physical language. The performers are displayed as living paintings caught between Francis Bacon-like fleshiness and the smooth cover of the LINDA magazine. Prey and hunter at the same time, both fair game and vultures behind glass. The style is raw and grotesque, the performance both a pamphletistic indictment and a love letter. Using text, music and the body as material, Nilsson examines how the dominant male gaze determines the behaviour of both men and women, and she questions if pure love is still possible in the age of consumption in which we live.
Rebekka Nilsson graduated from the directing program at the Amsterdam School of the Arts in 2019 with Woede by Elfriede Jellinek and Nora by Ibsen. Nilsson creates visual and musical performances where she turns the stage text inside out to bring out its current urgency.
RAW is an innovative talent development program from NITE, where talented makers are guided to develop their artistry through research and experimentation. Creators are encouraged to take risks, push boundaries and explore different parts of their creative potential. The goal is to bring to life a concept that is unfinished, open-ended and does not necessarily have a beginning, middle and end.
Director: Rebekka Nilsson | Dramaturgy: Florian Hellwig | Director’s assistant and dramaturgy: Sofie Boiten | Scenography: Vera Selhorst | Composition: Luke Deane | Musical support: Matthías Sigurdsson | Performers: Bram van der Heijden, Joost Bolt, Tim Linde, Felix Schellekens, Niels Kuiters