One month ago I was invited to see a theatrical performance in Cologne, Germany called “Fleshmob mit Toten”. As this performance was scheduled to have place in the weekend, I accepted that invitation and so, one saturday I travelled to a rare experience. To me, see theatre in life is so unusual that I didn’t remember the last time I had saw a spectacle before this one. After arrive in Cologne I took a taxi to the local of the life performance, because I was a little late (I had no chance of arrive earlier) and the place surprised me. In fact scared me a little. Imagine a abandoned place with some poor constructions almost falling and where everything can happen and you will have a image of that site where I had been. Seeing that I doubted if I was on the right place but the address was correct. So the taxi driver and myself decided to ask some people that was there, if I really was in the right place and they answered me positively. I must say that despite the weird place, people were nice and professional and so my fears disappeared very quickly. After some minutes with other persons in the exterior waiting, we were invited to enter in a building where we prepared to see the life performance. After more few minutes, silence was made in that building. The show was ready to begun.
Before write about what I saw I must say I’m not a specialist in theater and so this is only a text from someone that like this form of art and nothing more. The performance was made by Bodytalk and Warlessday. The Bodytalk theater company was founded in 2008 by Yoshiko Waki and Rolf Baumgart and produce political theatrical dance spectacles were the use of the body is very important. Their works are often called as radicals shows by specialist press. Warlessday is a peaceful performance project made by Solmaz Valkipour and where also the human body has a very important role.
As the performance was being presented to the public I was being positively shocked. I already knew that I would see a no conformist show from people that likes to provoke with the intention of wake up people for problems of the world (in this case the problem of lack of peace) but maybe because was the first time I saw a play like that, I wasn’t very well prepared for it. So I was a little astonished by that performance and at same time I saw that as perfectly normal because theater and art in general are and must be sometimes provocative. The show was based in the life of Solmaz Vakilpour, the main soul of the project. It begun with a actress giving a book to the audience and calling to each one of the spectators to write anomaly in that book the worst bad action that each one had made in their life. This was the first example of interactivity between the actors and the public and this was also important because as a alarmist play, to be interactive would make people more focused on it. Also very important was the life music. The music is always a very important part of a play and in this one the music was a fundamental part of it. Sometimes soft, sometimes powerful but always very well chosen and included on the spectacle
.As a kind of protest and peaceful demonstration, the main purpose of the play was to make people think about the absurdity of the war and their negative consequences. In this sense, to provoke is a important part of the play. Provoke with rage, screams, a hard portrait of what Solmaz Vakilpour suffered in her life and nudity. But is also a performance of hope because between the scenes of violence there are a kind of believing in a better tomorrow. In fact it would be illogical a peaceful performance without showing the possibility of a future world with peace.
Also very important is the time in where this play is made. More than ever, peaceful protests are necessary in all their forms and Solmaz has well understood that. The instability in Iraq and Syria, the refugee crisis provoked by it; the violence of the islamic radicalism and the rise of racism and intolerant populism in Europe are enough reasons to make world fight for peace. Because of this, the most important part of the play was in my opinion the “Warless Day” demonstration. Made initially as a public nude protest in the streets, it continued as a part of this play. In this act and as other example of interactivity the spectators where invited to go into the stage and make part of that protest. Some of them have self undressed as demanded by Solmaz, the others have remain silently quiets remembering the sad silence that occurs normally after war.
The show is sometimes hard and sensible. Provoke happy feelings but also a emotional sadness. All in a explosion of dance where communication thru body language is a obligatory concept of this kind of performances. The fact that it is provocative and has nudity must not move people away from the essential of the necessity of peace and tolerance in the world and because of that is a essential work of art in a world close of insanity.
Sources: “Fleshmob mit Toten Eine Performensch.”