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In Performance

In Performance: NORDWIND FESTIVAL at the Hebbel Am Ufer (Berlin, Germany)

NORDWIND FESTIVAL at the Hebbel Am Ufer

The re-discovery of pathos and emotion is at the focus of the Nordwind Festival 2009. “I have nothing, absolutely nothing in common with the middle-European mentality… Theatre has to be a wolf and not a sheep. It is not an economic transaction.” (Kristian Smeds)

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is Finland’s internationally most renowned contemporary director and author. The HAU will present no less than five of his works as director: “Sad Songs from the heart of Europe”, “The Wanderer”, as well as the first German showing of his film adaptations of “The Cherry Orchard”, “The Unknown Soldier” and “Mental Finland” (02 and 03/10), inviting you to join “Smedsnights”. Experience Smeds’ universe between the suggestive monologue with Aldona Bendoriūtė (Sad Songs…) and the powerfully absurd battle scenes from “The Unknown Soldier”.

The production “Ein Puppenheim” (30/09 and 01/10) by MÜLLER and VINGE makes no compromise; their stage language offers a blend of opera, splatter film, peasants’ theatre, Muppet Show and performance. The topic is the individual’s thriving for self-liberation and its consequences: Loneliness, aggression and estrangement. Nora’s abandoned children in the ruin’s of the doll-house.

With “No Boundaries” the Festival invites to an extraordinary musical event. In a classical concert you normally stick to rules of conduct, you remain seated, you stay calm, but what happens if all of a sudden the spectators start to scream and to cheer like in a pop concert? For his concerts (06 and 07/10) BJARTE EIKE takes the playing tradition very seriously and succeeds in snatching Baroque music away from its stereotypical perceptions.

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My Imaginary Friend is with me” (02 and 03/10) is somewhere between fiction and reality. Accompanied by imaginary friends who recall oversize fluffy cartoon characters Karttunen leads through different moods like sadness and pride, cynicism and light-heartedness and thus meets our expectation, which is a mixture of the moment and of knowing-it-better, loving-it, hatred, wanting to be a part of it… Karttunen leads the observer into his fictitious happy world, not unlike the dream characters of his childhood.

With “FolkofonOLE HAMRE (every day apart from 04/10) presents a kaleidoscope of the people of Berlin. Pedestrians, people in a hurry, office employees, politicians, homeless ones, young and old ones were all asked to sing a note. A simple thing, one might assume, one could almost think it’s too easy, but each and everyone sings in his own special and unique way. Often it seems as if this one note could tell the story of a whole lifetime. The recordings are powerful, melancholic, funny and touching. Musicians like for example Per Jörgensen will improvise along with these video-portraits.

ALAN LUCIEN ØYEN and GUNILLA HEILBORN have two things in common: being serious while playing, and not fearing big emotions. They play with our idiotically important dreams and longings. They take them seriously, question them and believe in them – and this is what makes them strong.

“It is foggy and slowly getting dark. A close-knit group of people goes down the street, the way they have always done… Some are dancing, one sings with a hoarse voice, another feels a bit ill this morning.” – “Potato Country” by GUNILLA HEILBORN on 5 and 6 October.

“Before Long” by ALAN LUCIEN ØYEN (06 and 07/10) is about the end or rather about the moment when we become conscious that it is the end.

Three productions from Iceland, Norway and Denmark venture to deal with highly delicate political topics.

“You are here” by MIND GROUP ISLAND (04 and 05/10) takes a closer look at the global financial crisis. Three people in a ruined country are discussing how the world they once knew is now finished. They have to learn how to navigate in a new barren landscape. They try to put together what is happening just then, and where they should be heading.

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In their new project “Light Metal Band” (04 and 05/10) the Norwegian group BAKTRUPPEN is at first glance reminiscent of the Knight of sorrowful countenance. Will it turn into a hopeless, absurd battle against windmills? Prepared like knights they come to Berlin as the viking daoists of europunk. In their own, very special musically humorous, loud but by no means superficial manner they also deal with the global financial crisis.

And in a lecture-performance the group DAS BECKWERK questions “The History of the Democracy” (06 and 07/10).

Sponsors: Nordisk Kulturfond, Norwegian Foreign Ministry, Foreign Ministry Iceland, Kulturradet Norway, Kulturradet Sweden, Danish Arts Council, Finnish Theatre Information Centre, the Embassies of the countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden in Berlin, the Finland Institute, SEB Bank, Iceland Express and others.

—From the Hebbel Am Ufer Website

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Caden Manson is Editor In Chief and Curator of Contemporary Performance Network and co-founder and artistic director of Big Art Group, a New York City performance company founded in 1999.
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