SAF2010: Cargo Kuala Lumpur - Singapore
Karrenbauer/Kaegi (Rimini Protokoll)
By Critics' choice
12.05.2010 / Time Out Singapore
It’s likely you’ve never experienced theatre like this: where the city is a stage, and the players go nowhere near a theatre. Look at unknown parts of the city through new eyes – in this instance, through a custommade window fitted to one side of a modified delivery truck.
This performance by German company Rimini Protokoll involves 40 audience members who sit inside the converted truck, with two Singaporean truck drivers navigating the backstreets and port areas of the island, detailing instances of their everyday lives through a microphone. Prepared sounds and videos accompany the drivers’ biographies – resulting in a road movie or, as Rimini Protokoll’s Stefan Kaegi puts it, a ‘mobile laboratory to examine the environment and working situations of truck drivers’.
Academics and critics have coined the term ‘theatrical readymades’ to refer to the ‘drivers’ chosen by this collective, by way of describing how ‘real’ people, instead of professional actors, have taken on the role of active performers. ‘In most of our performances, people on stage are not pretending to be somebody else and they are not speaking fiction. Rather, they talk about themselves,’ Kaegi points out. By allowing every performer to contribute something in which they are already considered an expert, the theatre becomes a type of social experiment.
It may seem like talking to audience members in this way might carry some revealing socioeconomic subtext, but when asked about the performance’s underlying implications, Kaegi maintains that ‘we are more interested in people than investigating drawbacks in general… more interested in the little-known and much-ignored aspects of our everyday lives.’
The performance, however, is not entirely spontaneous – the driver’s dialogue and route are formulated beforehand, and spliced in between are edited sound and video work prepared by the collective. What you can expect is to see parts of this city you’ve never seen – and would not otherwise have the opportunity to experience. And of course, the chance to meet someone you would not necessarily have crossed paths with before, let alone spend an entire hour with. The results might surprise you – the way you relate to this character might seem like opening a window for you to peek into their lives in a very intimate way.
Projects Cargo Asia