Wilfried Lentz,     Huis a/d Werf     2010

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
 

'Zaklady na Zycie' ('Plant-Life') is a performance and installation environment exploring Poland’s industrial past. In English, ‘ P l a n t - L i f e ’ is a play on words, as a plant can be as much a photosynthetic organism as a factory, power-station, or other large industrial complex. It is in this sense the piece attempts to achieve as much as state of David Attenborough as it does anthropological glance into the life of factories across Poland.

Using relics gathered from both functioning factories and industrial ruins around Poland, the stage environment is a series of re-creations, inspired by actual workplaces and even museums, reviewing the past-times of both company and state. The experience allows one to zoom-in, from the larger level of infrastructure, down to the single product of the factory itself, such as a toothbrush. The tangible nature of this experience attempts to connect to histories through these found objects, in much the way a museum does with its artifacts of purported significance.

With performers lulling secular mantras in Polish, a visitor is able to follow English subtitles, as the fringe economy of the East reveals itself as a true giant, - manifest in the factories of chocolate, speedometers, cement and canned meat.

Performers: Zbigniew Maciak, Maja Magdalena Jawor, Dorothea Nikiporczyk
photo: james beckett

 
 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
 

Structural performative aspects:

The performances are inspired much by the works of composer/performer Robert Ashley and a history of American minimal music. Many repeats and dense, mostly incomprehensible text intend to create secular mantras, a kind of slow music which seeks to create a gateway through its lack of sense.

Much audience response shows metaphoric and symbolic readings of the subject matter and behavioral characteristics of the performers, - very direct readings which are not at all the intention. In an ideal situation what should become apparent is that the piece is about association, language and at times a redundancy of language. In a musical sense this can be extended to speak of tiresome variations of the performance components, or a system of ‘combinatorics’.

Performers: Zbigniew Maciak, Maja Magdalena Jawor, Dorothea Nikiporczyk
photo: Merijn van der Vliet

 

   

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
 

Chronological order of performance and stage environment.

The piece begins in fictitious factory space, a 25-minute performance. A man read outs text and occasionally holds up portraits of works and walks up to the front of the stage. Slowly woman are introduced into the environment, who as secretaries, walk in the shapes of various letters, and eventually introduce various subjects from the stage.

Following this act, the audience is invited by means of subtitle, to follow the man into the corridor, which leads to a new seating arrangement where they are presented with an office.

In this office two secretaries are involved in a cyclical sequence, a mid-tempo, frantically stacking files and folders and making sporadic phone calls. They begin to incorporate many accidents in their goings-on, like dropping paper punches and stumbling whilst in transit. Following a 15-minute exercise, they retire to their desk to enter two separate but simultaneous Polish spoken phones calls, making one odd, turbulent and lengthy malady of sound.

The audience is now invited to enter a museum space, an additional set of corridors and stairs, accumatively becoming a labyrinth with no end it sight. The structure houses objects and documents salvaged from decrepit factory ruins from across Poland.

photo: Merijn van der Vliet

   
  click images for enlargement
   
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
   
Concept, writer and director: James Beckett
Performers: Zbigniew Maciak, Maja Magdalena Jawor, Dorothea Nikiporczyk
Dramaturgy: Koen Nutters, Renee Copraij
Installation and stage: James Beckett, Lucas Steenhuis en Erik Jansen
Costumes: Janneke Raaphorst
Light design: Minna Tiikkainen
Sound Design: Slobodan Bajic
Tech: Roeland van den Beemd en Slobodan Bajic
Production leader: Coosje Idhuna Kuipers
Producer: Huis a/d Werf
Co-production: Wilfried Lenz, Rotterdam
 
   
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------