Out at Sea

Play by Sławomir Mrożek
debate space – Performative after talk
Chorgasse, Neumarkt, Zürich, Switzerland
spring 2018
The after-talk is developed from the play At The Sea for Sławomir Mrożek; it is about a big man, a medium man, and a thin man. They are stranded at sea with no hope of rescue. As supplies dwindle, they realize the only way to survive is to eat one of them. There is only one civilized thing left to do – campaign. What is a campaign without a bit of scandal? The focus of the group work was on the idea of election in such a situation.
the scenography was done as a replica of the three characters as the pictures are repeating themselves repeatedly. The sound was an essential aspect of the scenography. An ultrasonic speaker was set up to swing among the audience's ears, creating a drown soundscape of the sea when it encounters their ears, dragging them to the situation in the middle where the men are situated and the audience surrounding them.
The absurd play has been followed by an artistic after-talk, which adopted the same principle of campaigning.
With dramaturge Melanie Osan, we developed a game structure where the audience and artists involved in an artist talk, in the form of a campaign, aim to select one moment in the play where all of them agree that it was the critical factor of the play. We draw six squares on the rock street outside the venue. In the close walled ally, we asked people to join in the groups in the squares to discuss and decide on a moment they find crucial. Then each group of the six will try to promote it for the other group their moment, and eventually, they need to vote for the one moment, and if there were 100% votes on one moment, the group would win a wine bottle, if not we will take it back. The audience here met the performers on a third thing which is no longer alien for any of them, which is the play in this situation. Both had access to it. No one had the upper hand as the usual situation of artistic talk of mediator and the production leader directors. As well open the whole set up for a new audience passing by, which makes the original audience part of the watching situation for passers-by staging the entire debate in the street.
The setup allows everyone to hear each other as groups and cooperate to get the reward. That established by not dividing the spaces but by only drawing quickly crisp lines, no clear rules forbid the groups from communicating, at the time, there are resources/rewards for everyone to sip a bit of wine if those groups do cooperate, but the question if these groups are going to. So here, the importance is not what we did as facilitators but the possibilities we open for the audience by this setup.
The election gets held, the wine goes back to us. There was no agreement on one moment, but people got creative with their campaign. There were moments where people were performing to the other groups to convince, and there was a form of speech by others. Eventually, people met over a third thing, debated, talked, and performed, and later on, the questions raised how to win, and the concept of democracy was on the street to be discussed.
DIRECTOR: Alexander Stutz
SCENOGRAPHER: Liam Monzer Alzafari
PERFORMERS: Sandro Howald, Johannes Hegemann and Florian Heise

CO-CREATORS: Liam Monzer Alzafari • Melanie Osan.
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