PREMIÈRE 2 &3 Aug 2017, Ausufern Festival, Uferstudios, Berlin
EYE IN EYE WITH THE MONSTERS Helena Botto shows her new performance "Monstrator" at Hebelhalle Heidelberg In the mode of demonstrative exposure, it is about exclusion and the appropriation of everything foreign as an exhibit. With Stephen King, horror is very often shown in clown garments. Even the Portuguese choreographer Helena Botto, hidden behind clown make-up, teaches her audience to fear in her new performance "Monstrator". When she screams for a volunteer from the stage of Heidelberger Hebelhalle, visitors avoid any eye contact. Because until then it has long become clear that the "entertainment" of the viewers, repeatedly asserted loudly by Botto, is more like a threat than a promise. The subtitle of the piece makes one sit up and take notice: "A performance on monsters, freak shows, human zoos, colonial exhibitions and other wonders and aberrations, such as the human being".
The choreographer has set herself a few goals, and she and her partner Marc Philipp Gabriel bravely brush all these historical and suddenly topical themes against the grain - with smudged make-up, slipped wigs, a huge shaggy blanket and hoarse voices.
It's about the others who do not conform to the bourgeois norm and are marginalized as "monsters", but also about the appropriation of everything foreign as an exhibit. The Portuguese artist has surprising ideas, for example when she draws the world as a carpet of fabric, from which various shreds can easily be torn off - or when in the video (Philipp Weinrich) the spread out world map is simply swallowed down by the oversized actors.
The two actors spare neither the audience nor themselves. With purposeful embarrassments and demonstrative exposure they mercilessly involve the audience in the evening as voyeurs. Fortunately, the highly unusual piece, which is beyond the scope of stylistic classifications, shows a large portion of self-irony - and was well received by the premiere audience.
A special feature of this performance is its genesis: Helena Botto created her piece last year during a residence at the Choreographic Center of Heidelberg. She opened the series "CC Celebrities", in which other pieces created in Heidelberg will be shown.
by Isabelle von Neumann-Cosel, Tanznetz Published on 13.11.2017
en MONSTRATOR is a performance rooted in the exploration of monstrousness that aims to critically question the theatrical apparatus of the Freak shows - where the Other, or the one who would stand outside the norm, became the Monster - and Human Zoos - where other cultures were exoticised or monstrified. Those theatrical demonstrations served as regulating mechanisms in which segregation, binary ways of thinking and processes of Othering were emphasized in order to assure a sense of normalcy to the ones attending the spectacle. In this work the aim is to investigate and explore ways of transforming and blurring the conventional roles of the monster, the show host and the audience in order to rethink the mechanisms in which alterity operates. Monstrator makes use of the aesthetics of the grotesque, in which everything is presented on a excessive, exaggerated, hybrid manner and oscillates between what is visible and invisible. The show evolves on an absurd constellation in which the lines between the comic and the horror dilute. A universe inhabited by strangeness and uncanniness arises.
de MONSTRATOR ist eine Performance, die sich der Erkundung von Monstrosität annimmt, indem sie den theatralen Apparat von Freakshows und Vökerschauen kritisch hinterfragt. Während in den Freakshows der Andere, oder derjenige, der abseits der Norm steht, als Monster dargestellt wurde, galt es in Völkerschauen andere Völker zu „exotisieren“. Diese dramatischen Vorführungen verfolgten einen regulierenden Mechanismus: indem sie Segregation, Spaltung und Andersartigkeit betonten, sollte die Normalität des Zuschauers zu bestätigen versucht werden. In dieser Arbeit gilt es die konventionelle Rolle des Monsters, des Show-Hosts und des Zuschauers aufzubrechen und verschwimmen zu lassen, um den Mechanismus, durch den Andersartigkeit entsteht, zu überdenken. Monstrator bedient sich der Ästhetik des Grotesken – exzessiv, übertrieben, hybridisierend, und zwischen dem Sichtbaren und Unsichtbaren schwankend. Die Performance kreist um eine absurde Konstellation, die Grenzen zwischen dem Komischen und dem Grausamen verschmelzen lässt. Ein Universum, das von Fremdheit und Unheimlichkeit bevölkert ist, entsteht.
pt (disponível em breve)
An idea of Helena Botto (artistic direction and performance), developed in collaboration with Marc Philipp Gabriel (performance), Joshua Rutter (sound design), Philipp Weinrich (video), Susanne Mayer (dramaturgy), Susanne Foellmer (dramaturgical advice / expert on grotesque), Gretchen Blegen (light design) and Julia Danila (production).
Monstrator is a co-production with Hebelhalle|Künstlerhaus|UnterwegsTheater Heidelberg and the Choreographisches Centrum Heidelberg|TanzAllianz,funded by the Freundeskreis der UdK | Karl Hofer Gesellschaft, Tanzraum Berlin | Mapping Dance and Goethe Institut Porto with the support of AUSUFERN | Uferstudios GmbH, Vierte Welt, Companhia Instável Porto, Mira | Artes Performativas and HZT Berlin.
Full video (performance documentation) available under request.