The theatre installation ”Call Cutta in a Box” skillfully shakes up the idea of what theatre is.

By Jakob Steen Olsen

06.09.2008 / Berlingske Tiderne

It’s a ballsy move. Suddenly Camp X insists on being called “Theatre” Camp X, and then you get told to arrive at a private apartment on a side street to Gammel Kongevej. Where the devil are the velvet seats? Where is the stage?
With a concept by the German performance group Rimini Protokoll, the contemporary theatre has brought in “Call Cutta in a Box,” a performance that elegantly challenges and plays with the very notion of what the theatre is. The audient is no longer audience, but participant who, completely alone and with their heart on their sleeve is led into a room populated only by a desk and a computer screen. The phone rings and there is nothing to do but answer.
A friendly, English speaking gentleman with a soft voice and only a hint of an Indian accent is calling from a call center in Calcutta, and soon you are being guided through a conversation where he chats about his daily life, his questionable working environment, and even politely prompts you to comment on your own privileged existence. You are both in safe hands and on delightfully uncertain terrain when the voice on the other end of the line leads you through both hard facts and dizzying phantasmagorias.
The conversation naturally set reflections about the great giddy globalization in motion –the man is after all bought to service the theatergoer by a bunch of manipulative western Europeans- but that first and foremost becomes interesting by constantly insisting upon itself as theatre. Theatre that utilizes the fact that the people who pay for the ticket are actually also present in the room and can take on roles other than passive, snoozy “spectators” who expect nothing more than to be coddled and entertained. We are engaged with all of our senses. We are alive! It is not the worst thing to be. Goodbye, my Indian friend –or whatever you were- and thanks for the conversation!


Call Cutta in a Box