WWhat does your personal happiness quotient look like today? Can you diagnose an impending burnout from the number of keystrokes on your keyboard? Can machines guarantee the “definitive abolition of the catastrophe”? The digital world in which the “users” move in Alexandra Badea’s drama “I look at you” may have sounded like science fiction five years ago when the play was premiered in Freiburg.
Now that everyone is hanging out in corona video conferencing, Badea’s scenario has come close to reality. Especially because it has now become a hybrid suitable for corona. After “Seymour” “I look at you” is the second stage production from which that Staatstheater Darmstadt made a film. A medium that fits the subject perfectly.
Creepy plexiglass masks
At the end, after 90 minutes, the stage lights briefly pop into the small house and startle the scattered spectators: there he is, the eighth teammate, of whom acting director Oliver Brunner speaks almost moved when he, the dramaturg of the production, joins the team thanks. Because the theater, the stage always plays in Barish Karademir’s production. Karademir himself can be seen again and again, black and white rehearsal videos and color film are so entangled that there is a duplication: stage and direction are part of the game and its master at the same time. An effect that could never have been achieved on the theater itself – which speaks for the prompt redesign of the material as a film.
As with “Body hits” at the beginning of the season, an entanglement of dance and drama was planned from the beginning, after all Karademir originally comes from dance. Choreographed at a distance, the dance becomes a physical expression of all the exuberant feelings that the lonely “users” speak of: Because in Badea’s polyphonic text, almost like a long poem, the “users” like two female, two male, digital and mostly communicate in monologues, their experience and feeling is extremely analog.
What people have under control
It is about futile love, frenzied jealousy, hatred, greed, despair, revenge – all in a world in which digital aids have long had people under control. The actors Béla Milan Uhrlau, Ulrike Fischer, Edda Wiersch and Robert Lang-Vogel dance as well as the dancers Tatiana Diara, Charlotte Petersen and Kirill Berezovski speak. Taken in the Small House, during rehearsals and then in film shoots, combined with outdoor shots in the city and in the empty airport in Frankfurt, Norbert Goldhammer succeeded on camera and on average in making the different levels visible.
The somewhat creepy plexiglass masks of the actors also contribute to this. The self, as it wants to be on the screen, repeatedly overlaps its identity. The room also dances with video designer Miho Kasama, who has ensured a cool but not hypothermic look. After all, despite all the digitality, we are in the theater.
The online premiere is this Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Vimeo channel of the State Theater, further streaming dates from July 3.