7 performers, 12 scenes and a moderator. By choosing different foodstuffs displayed in front of the stage audience combines the scenes about gluttony.
Audience chooses displayed foodstuffs in order to fuse the scenes.Each scene is a personal statement in which the performer reveals his gluttony or his fight against it. Jaka Lah crushes chips, ketchup and coca-cola into a disgusting gruel into which he then jerkily inserts his head, Grega Zorc narrates a bizarre story of two acquaintances that died suddenly, all the while stuffing beetroot into his pockets, enumerating its medicinal properties. Barbara Kukovec stuffs chocolates into her underwear after having closed her eyes with them in order to narrate a story about the powers of the delights of taste. Marko Mandic tapes cold meats to his face in order to appear skinned. Special guests of performances are professional moderators from popular TV and radio shows – they guide and direct the show through continual contact with audience.
“Highly moral, intelligent performance.”
(DIE WELT HAMBURG, 10.5.04)
“Lucid madness with a point of view… This is madness with brains and with a point of view, permissive for various interpretations.”
(DELO LJUBLJANA, 2.12.03)
“An interesting, internally rigorous but also very much fun project.”
(DNEVNIK LJUBLJANA, 1.12.03)
Conceived and devised by the group
Performers: Daša Doberšek, Petra Govc, Barbara Kukovec, Jaka Lah, Boris Mihalj / Marko Mandić, Mateja Pucko, Grega Zorc
Koncept in režija: Bojan Jablanovec
Assistant: Nana Milčinski
Production manager: Špela Trošt
Production: Via Negativa, 2003
Co-production: Glej Theatre Ljubljana
Partner: POPOK/Posthogeschool Voor Podiumkunsten, Antwerp
Support: Ministry of Culture of Republic of Slovenia and the City of Ljubljana
Premiere: 23 November 2003, Glej Theatre Ljubljana
A workshop took place as part of the postgraduate program of the performing arts at POPOK (Posthogeschool Voor Podiumkunsten) in Antwerp. The Gluttony Project was presented on June 2003 in two radically different consumer contexts: in a gallery space of MuHKA, Museum van hedendaagse kunst Antwerp and in a supermarket Delhaize Antwerp. Participants: Nana Milčinski, Anne Dekerk, Bruno Herzeele, Esther Maas in Belen Jimenez Jimenez.
Mojca Puncer: Performing Gluttony, an essay on More
Maska Ljubljana, XIX/5-6 (88-89), winter 2004
Primož Jesenko: Lucid madness with a point of view
Delo Ljubljana 2. December 2003
The second phase of the theatrical seven-part series by Via negativa unfolds like an archipelago of actors’ studies. The edge of the stage is occupied by food provisions that the theatrical laboratory uses as ingredients in its treatment of the second deadly sin: gluttony. Only the method this time is determined by interaction with the audience instead of by the context of the gallery. The audience selects a number of food provisions and the actors participate in the performance in combinations that are decided by the public. What, besides the playfulness that infects the audience, do Jablanovec and Milčinski, masters of ceremony, achieve in this performance? By definition, each new performance cannot be a repetition of the previous one; the possibility for duplication is, in all probability, extremely small. In addition, the performance is always animated by a different radio-television host, each speaking in his or her own personal style. Via negativa strives to be an event created each time ‘ab ovo’. And because it doesn’t want to duplicate, it rejects the reproductive logic of theatrical creativity. There should be no repetition, only the unique and unpredictable combination of scenes. In part, Še (More) is also a play about chance. With one reservation: each of the studies is presented as a whole (the simultaneity of their presentation alone does not yield a substantial aesthetic surplus if for nothing else because of the diversity of scenes). It is in this regard that the performance loses some of its conceptual unpredictability.
Nevertheless, the radically altered theatrical language is inscribed in the heart of the performance and is quite distant from the standard idiom: the parallel theatrical countdown that the audience, in its perception of the stunted, cannot access. This new contextualization, interwoven with distinct references to Artaud, departs from the traditional orientation of the theatre and offers the audience a refined form of theatrical entertainment (despite a few dead spaces in the performance when the intensity wanes). It provides the audience with the possibility of re-examining its own “ideology” of viewing the theatre: words here only transfer meaning but do not explain. Subordination to the text is replaced by the physical theatre which is structured as a gallery of more or less intense theatrical scenes – scenes that are not stage clichés, do not ridicule, do not moralize, do not teach. Many function on the level of wit and humour but, without exception, all travel between the abstract and the surreal with a psyche that is evasive and seemingly bizarre. Any doubts about the effectiveness of the actors’ participation in the conceptually defined excursion would be beside the point.
The most fully articulated scene is that of Petra Govc: intense, with the structured quality of thoughts vacillating between horror and an ironic “sermonizing” discourse along with the proper dose of rapture and “raw” nudity. The following scenes are also memorable: Gregor Zorc’s illogical narrative about the death of two people he met, which causes him to stuff all the wisdom about the soothing effects of beets into his pocket (he does this with real beets); Mateja Pucko in a vicious cycle of food and sadness and later as a femme fatale yearning for love while eating salami; Barbara Kukovec alluding to the “domestic hearth” while eating Sunday soup; Jaka Lah who makes a thick slime with a lethal combination of junk food and then plunges his head into it; the face of Boris Mihalj sprinkled with small pieces of thinly sliced ham. The border between play and madness in these surreal, dream-like scenes is erased, but this condition of lucid madness is both deliberate and penetrating. This is madness with feet. Madness with brains. It is a condition that has a point a view that is open to interpretation. From this madness (especially that of Govc and Zorc) poetry emerges; that is the Artaudian experience. The pleasure of watching Še is built on these moments. What is clear is that this inventive and youthful project brings an absolute freshness into the reality of so-called “safe” creative methods. The hierarchy between the theatre as “text” and the credo of “theatre as theatre” no longer exist. Original!
Gregor Butala: Theatre a la carte
Dnevnik Ljubljana 1. December 2003
(…) What remains after thorough reduction of theatrical signs is a sum of appearances in the purest form which can only conditionally be marked as “acting”. As far as the basis of this hapenning are actors with their own psychic content, not striving to present anything else than fragments of their selves, short circuits of their own identity, their separate appearances are – sometimes less, sometimes more – intimate personal confessions, in one way or another linked to their relation to the thematised sin. It is therefore not about “acting” more about “exhibiting”; instead of ‘performance’, a more suitable term could therefore be (self)presentation or even: exhibition. (…)
Klemen Fele: After anger there comes gluttony
Finance Ljubljana 26. December 2003
(…) Stage performance does not fill up only visual and hearing perception, but is due to abundance of food saturated with smells. Food, to which performers are exposed, can be arranged in different strings, objects are repeated in series; however, idea is unique in each scene. Special mention goes to Petra Govc’s scene White Death, where she transforms into unhealthy pastry, breaking down the relations between in and out, and points to the madness of eating regimes. (…)
Anja Golob: My loaf can be a slipper
Večer Maribor 26. November 2003
(…) More has one crucial characteristic that is absolutely essential for every theatre (and is all too often missed elsewhere) – pure pleasure for play respectively at play. Alike to a childish play, it is enrapturing, when it over and over again shows the primal amazement at the world – and the actors are a pleasure to see. (…)