Von Rimini Protokoll (Helgard Haug, Stefan Kaegi, Daniel Wetzel)
There will be performances that will consist of only one encounter.
The audience will meet in small groups and follow rules, thought up beforehand by someone else, and which are transmitted to them from stage to stage.
There will be clubs for hand-shaking.
There will be clubs for patting one another on the back.
There will be clubs for booing.
There will be clubs, in which frowning, and clicking one’s tongue, but also the lifting of eyebrows and moistening the eyes will be practiced.
A tour will be offered to take in all of the city’s social clubs; one will linger in none, but will stay just as long as it takes for someone to win or lose.
There will be performances under the tables in gourmet restaurants; in front of washrooms, nearby garbage containers.
Theatre festivals will take place not in, but between cities: at transit routes, highway intersections and gas stations.
There will be perfectly staged bank robberies that end with applause in front of the jailhouse.
There will be very subtle performances, in which a single detail in your apartment will be altered during the course of a night, in order to test whether or not you will notice it.
Chemicals sprayed in the audience’s room will put the spectators in an altered state. On stage, nothing will happen, but the longer that spectators look on, the more certain they will feel that something is happening.
The encounter (which will have been a performance) will grow wild; it will cover everything that was and that is to come.
There will be public acts of destruction of the buildings that no longer serve any function. (Each audience member with a hammer in hand.)
In car crash tests, dummies will be replaced by audience members; Theatre of risk. Who would want to miss the impact?
The term parasitic theatre will become a household word: A theatre—so it will be said—that consists of viewing performances of the “everyday” - that are taking place anyway - from a different point of view. Universities will offer lectures and seminars, and parasitic performances will spread across the city.
Annual Shareholder Meetings will be announced in theatre programs, so that non-shareholders
may attend them. Members of the theatre audience who are in the know will be provided a printed program that reveals background information about the main protagonists in the board of directors.
Parliamentary debates will be used as material for a play and, like Karaoke, will be repeated verbatim by voters. Every voter will represent an elected representative. Every citizen will represent a politician.
The public seating areas in courts of law will be filled with people who are not interested in justice, but in the style of a performance.
Sale transactions will be publicly announced and applauded in department stores.
Opera performances will be available for viewing not only from the audience but — at a different ticket price and offered by a different producer — from the wings.
Spectators will be able to book an entire ‘day in the life’ of someone. They will then spend ‘a day with a window cleaner’ or ‘a day with a hydrometer reader’ or ‘a day with a business executive.’
The authors of theater will work hard to invent titles for parasitic theatre performances, so that people may recognize it, and applaud at the right moment and talk about it, and later move on.
Spectators will go to theatres primarily after performances in order to observe the striking of the set, or before performances to see the cue-to-cue and blocking rehearsals. (As a bonus the audience will use directional microphones to listen in on the swearing of the stagehands.)
But there will also be vegetarian theatre, in which there will be only plants on stage.
(The spectator will observe the greenery as it grows.)
There will be a theatre in which the stage is just an enormous fireplace. 100 spectators will simply be watching the fire. Some will bring along sausages for grilling on long sticks.
In a microbiological theatre laboratory very small actors will be bred in order to create portable theatre performances that one can take anywhere to have the miniature actors perform their rehearsed play. (These performances will be especially popular during long flights.)
There will be theatre performances for domestic animals:
Theatre for dogs, who bark at high frequencies;
Theatre for cows, who will eat during the play;
Theatre for sea lions, who clap ceaselessly;
In a white theatre full of flies, a dancer in a costume made of white fly-catching fabric will dance until he has attracted enough flies to turn him completely black. (Audiences will constantly clap in order to catch flies.)
Playgrounds will be attended by small groups of children, who will let their parents perform scenes on the playground toys.
There will be rehearsals for one’s own memorial service, which will be repeated year after year in
order to keep them fresh in one’s mind.
And old people who do not want to die alone will invite audiences to witness their final hours.
The audience will arrive with flowers and remain past the moment of death.
There will be no applause at the end.
Every bridge will be populated with people whose task it will be to whisper short sentences into your ear as you pass them by — from a play you will only be able to understand once you have made your way to the other end of the bridge.
There will be tactile theatres. Small, curtained boxes will be built onto all of the body’s parts and places, allowing one to stick one’s hands in and probe them. The elbow and clavicle performance will turn into a runaway hit, whereas there will be complaints about genital theatre—not on moral grounds, but for copyright reasons.
Clothing companies will sew clothes from pieces of backdrop; the performance will start once all the owners of this clothing have found their place in the correct order at a location of their choice.
Acting schools will specialize in stage fright and hone their student’s skill in hoarseness, perspiration and weak knees. The most popular course will be offered by the faculty of ‘blackouts.’
Mine fields will be surrounded by mobile proscenium arches, that will frame one area after another, for as long as it takes to defuse every last mine.
There will be kidnapping performances, for which one will be locked in an audience hall for several days. Countries will buy performance compounds all around the world, similarly to the way they conquered colonies in the past. Spectators will then be shipped to those compounds for performances lasting a week at a time.
In every city there will be places where migrants and tourists tell stories about their homes.
There will be entire migrant families in the theatre. Spectators will pay them to interrupt their Odysseys and get settled. Theatres will become consulates, refugee camps, embassies.
There will be refugee theatre audiences, which will cheer the refugees as they arrive and shower them with flowers. Border guards will be asked to give autographs. A competitive black market for such autographs will develop. Audience risers will be erected at national borders, and equipped with binoculars.
The Olympic games will be conducted as a visa-style competition between applicants for immigration. The best in each discipline will be handed a passport at the awards ceremony.
In other Olympic games, spectators rather than athletes will compete. Everyone will be running either at home or in the audience. A gigantic measuring system will tabulate the results. After the home stretch the winner will receive a telephone call with applause.
Restaurants will seat their guests at tables in such a way that the guests will be thanking the hosts
for the excellent staging.
In other restaurants the guests will be distributed among the tables in such a way that the hosts will be thanking the guests for the excellent staging.
When boarding public transport, each passenger’s personal data will be recorded. The driver will announce the most dramatic moments of individual passengers’ lives to entertain the others:
Someone on this bus has been an orphan;
Another has spent every second weekend in jail;
Another has previously won an Olympic event;
Another lost his job yesterday;
Today it is someone’s birthday.
Wheeled search engines will take searchers by the hand and lead them to the other end of the earth in order to allow them to attend a rehearsal for a play consisting of a piece life that may never be performed.
There will be wordless identity parades – line-ups - in which you will only be looking at people and imagining their stories.
One encounter that will have been a performance will invent its own rules and constantly break them.
Museums will create special exhibitions with theatre tickets, and well-trained museum guides will offer lengthy explanations as to why, previously, only those who could afford it were admitted to theatrical performance.
Cues will form at construction cranes. One by one, members of the theatre audience will be permitted to follow the crane operator up to his station and look at the city for a while from his perspective.
Neighbors will enact family dramas for each other, and laugh afterwards about the stereotypical casting choices.
Hotel guests will find a chain-letter - left behind by previous guests, requiring them to add a paragraph to the plot.
Sex changes will be excitedly observed by long-term audiences.
Since every person will regard him or herself as an actor, everyone will be paid for what they are: The elderly will be paid for being elderly, the unemployed will be paid for being unemployed. Even alcoholics will be paid for being alcoholics.
Homeless people will hold meetings with set designers and make minor corrections to their improvised tent cities. Set decorators will offer advice on their shopping carts.
Where the forests have disappeared, the trees will be performed by actors.
Others will perform as extinct animals.
Vegetables will grow on the heads of people in suitable southern climate zones.
At night, people’s bodies will be luminescent, saving cities the expense of street lighting.
Program pauses will be negotiated between TV and radio stations. There will be no broadcast for five minutes a day, during which time all windows and even the studio windows will be opened to let some fresh air in.
TV and radio newscasters will be permitted to cry if they feel like it during sad news items, and if they want to but can’t, they will resort to using artificial tears.
Once in a while during a show every action on stage will freeze and the stage-manager will turn away from the stage, towards the audience and grimace.
The recordings of every municipal surveillance camera will be accessible for viewing the next day. Anyone who is not content with the way they are represented can play the scene once more and improve on their performance.
During the night, the names of all the inhabitants of and visitors to each city will be projected against the largest building — as rolling credits for the preceding day.
The world will be divided into those who offer jobs and those who work. Both sides will be recognizable by their different clothing — and observe one another. The unemployed will act as referees.
Every country will have a constantly changing repertoire of national anthems.
There will be an open call for submissions and media-contests for newcomers who write music and lyrics. There will be scripts for sale for every kind of social exchange, written by experienced authors.
There will be dialogue-scripts for married couples at breakfast;
Scripts for a dinner date;
Scripts for the dentist’s waiting room;
Scripts for the break during a conference or a theater intermission, and monologues for those who prefer to be at home alone.
Some people will listen to these scripts on small MP3 players with headphones and speak simultaniously, so that no one will be quite sure if they mean what they say.
The memorizing of texts will become superfluous, since computers will no longer be external devices but bodily organs. Screens will be part of the retina. People who are in the process of looking for a file or typing something will be recognizable by their fingers tapping the air.
People who are in the process of watching a movie will be recognizable by the fact that with their eyes shut, they suddenly begin to laugh or cry.
There will be a soundtrack for every street, which you will automatically (inwardly) hear as soon as you turn the corner.
Soldiers will no longer have rousing music played to them during missions, but will be hearing their own regrets as they were originally intended in the script for the end of their lives.
People who look like other people will take their place: They will go to work instead of them, to visit their in-laws instead of them, to the funeral, to the theatre.
There will be performances, which one won’t attend at all, but only know about. All spectators will think of them in the very same moment and applaud, wherever they happen to be.
There will be performances during which all that is said is what kind of performances will be given in the near future.
But there will also be discussion groups in which people will talk about what theatre was like in the past (some will even mount a stage and put on costumes in order to demonstrate how actors used to move and speak. They will be speaking texts, pretending to be someone else, demonstrating how actors used to simulate emotions — and then laugh.
The one encounter that will have been a performance will end when one of the two will say: The play is over.