One on one performance in public space, premiere May 23rd 2008 Festival aan de Werf, Over ‘t IJ Festival-De Karavaan, Festival Bies!
WE is an performance about looking and being watched. The public sits individually in a cabin. Living faces appear, far away at first, then closer. Spectators are given the opportunity to take a good look, but are also watched, described and approached. Space is created for existential questions such as: How do I look at you, who are you, but especially: who am I?
Short video impression 8:15”, full registration on request
Concept, design and direction: Roos van Geffen, performers: Aline Mohl, Barbara Devens, Jacolien Honders, Jeanette van der Steen, Loes Buenen, Lu Marivoet, Margriet De Haene, Marleen Kleinstapel, Sofie Saller, Floor Paul, composer: Seamus Cater, production: Coosje Kuipers / Huis aan de Werf, dramaturgy: Bas van Peijpe, technician: Marco Steenks, set builders: Smids and Hooijboer
De Theatermaker: The performance “WE” in top 3 of best mime performances in The Netherlands 2008
Deadline: “Ultimate theater (…) This is how theater should be: gripping and personal.”
8Weekly: You are recognized as a unique individual with a unique face. At those moments WE of Roos van Geffen suddenly comes very close. The anonymous ‘she’ of unknown faces passing by becomes a poignant ‘me’.
Parool: “as oppressive as intimate one-on-one performance”
De Pers: Strong but beautiful
Utrechts Nieuwsblad: **** “confrontational in a simple way”
Moose: “Very special experience. Perfectly fitting title. Only drawback: it ruins me for other performances. Nothing gets it here anymore ”
Theater Schrift Lucifer / Bas van Peijpe: The series of encounters in Wij inspires, on the one hand, all kinds of thoughts about looking, being viewed and intimacy. But in addition, the performance organizes an experimental and creative practice in the sense described above. The visitor “inhabits” the constructive and undergoes a step-by-step transformation from remote spectator to participant in intimate contact. All this happens so slowly and concentrated, that there is room for a measure of input in this experiment, for creating and testing different ‘configurations of yourself-in-this-situation: will I continue to look or turn your gaze? Do you open up or draw up a wall? Are you talking back? And what do you say? And here again the basic reflective at the service of the experiment: what does this do to you, here and now? Read article here (in Dutch)
Description of the performance WE:
When the spectator arrives at the location, he sees a round wooden construction with all doors. Around the construction is a circle of 16 chairs, one chair for each door. Every ten minutes one perso can enther the wooden construction.He is assigned a chair. He is asked if he is not afraid of the dark, nor claustrophobic and if his phone is turned off. Then he can enter into one cabin. The chair on which he sits is adjusted to the correct height so that he can see his own eyes in a rectangular glass beam. The bar moves very slowly to the left. In front of him is a black window, without glass. The door closes, the lights go out slowly. It is pitch dark. Something can be seen in the distance. Unrecognizable at first. Slowly a face and profile become visible. Then a face appears on the right, also and in profile, closer. The two faces (both with closed eyes), separated by a thin line, are visible at the same time, until the second face is completely pushed in front of the viewer. Only the face is visible, then a black surface slides in front of the viewer, so that his window is completely covered. A face emerges from the pitch dark, it comes closer and closer, until it is directly in front of you, precisely then the performer opens her eyes. She looks, without seeing, smiles. When she walks back again, the next space becomes visible. The spectator sees how a woman also walks backwards. When the entire room is visible, the woman looks directly at him. Her face is brightly lit, as if light is coming through a window.
She looks away, she walks forward, the viewer does not see her, she looks at him again. When the spectator has been pushed directly in front of the woman, she slowly comes to him, puts her hand through the window, clicks on a lamp with a dimmer. The viewer is illuminated, she sees it completely for a moment. She walks back and disappears into the dark. When the viewer is used to the light that shines in his eyes, he sees something white behind the window. If he looks closely he sees a white real rabbit. The rabbit disappears and suddenly a head slides from the right for the viewer, very close.
The woman’s head seems to float, looking straight and studying. She begins to describe, first roughly, then in more detail, down to wrinkles and moles. She responds to changes in the face and includes them in her description. Then she slides away to the left. A large empty black space is visible, a voice is getting closer from afar. A woman looks at you from the right. She says, “I don’t know how you got here, by bike, alone or with a loved one. I don’t know if your mom has the same curls as you. I don’t know why you have to laugh. ” It is not a fixed text, the questions she asks arise from what she sees in the viewer.
When she is almost out of the viewer’s left she asks her last question: “I don’t know who you are”. The spectator sits for a while when a glass plate is placed in front of his window. He sees himself. After looking at himself for a moment, he sees another pair of eyes appear behind his eyes. His face slowly merges with the performer’s face in the distance, until it is fully visible and directly in front of the viewer. The spectator and the performer look straight at each other for about 3 minuts. After a while, the performer slowly turns off the light and removes the glass plate. The spectator is alone in the black space. The elongated bar appears to the right of the window and the light turns on slowly.
The door opens slowly, the performance is over.