Director & Choreographer: Ben J. Riepe
Dramaturgs: Julia Huebner, Ben J. Riepe, Janine Blöß
Composer: Bára Gísladóttir
Musical Director: Richard Schwennicke
Sound Designer: Thomas Wegner
Lighting Designers: Ben J. Riepe, Fabian Grohmann
Stage Designers & Costume Designers: Ben J. Riepe, Gwen Wieczorek
Choreography Assistance: Victor Alfonso Zapata Cardenas
With: Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop & Soloists of State Orchestra of Lower Saxony:
Violin: Thomas Huppertz, Mari Sawada, Viola: ldiko Ludwig, Yodfat Miron, Cello: Isabelle Klemt, Michael Rauter, Double bass: Fatima Agüero Vacas, Flute: Siiri Niittyma, Horn: Horst Schäfer, Trumpet: tbd, Trombone: Max Eisenhut, Percussion: Tomi Emilov
Funded in the Fonds Doppelpass by German Federal Cultural Foundation
Duration: 70 min. | N-10
What can a (new) beginning look like in the face of drastic upheavals, ecological challenges and the consequences of the pandemic?
Ben J. Riepe, with the 12 acting soloists, approaches socially virulent questions of our times, caught in the tensions of the pandemic and the climate crisis: What defines our cultural society? What could a new beginning look like, and what do we carry with us from our old world to imagine a new one? What knowledge and which memories – be they social or very personal in nature – are indispensable as a living archive and as the basis for the beginning of a new era?
Ben J. Riepe develops a sort of terra incognita, in which the performers come across as being marooned: Are they the landing party belonging to an arctic expedition, survivors of the last ark, or dropouts on a lonely island at the end of the world? In their strangely eclectic costumes, the performers seem to have left civilization as we knew it, yet they are conjuring up old recollections and a new community when they survey the stage as uncharted territory, share images from the past, remember poems and talk in their various mother tongues, or when they philosophies entertainingly about medicinal herbs, chicken breeding, or magic mushrooms.
The “Ode to Joy” from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, being the starting point for the undertaking remains present as “joy” is being evoked on stage through changing emotions between ecstasy and desperation. Ten multifunctional crates with alternating, precious contents serve as variable stage elements that form a haven in one moment and a wall in the next. The promise of a new epoch also sonorously suffuses Bára Gigliotti’s composition: Sometimes entwined with tender chants, waves of new crescendo evoke a turning of the times that could bring peace as well as chaos with it. A new beginning one could fear – but which could also be hoped for.
“Beginn” is dedicated to two massive human crises – the pandemic and the climate crisis – as regards its content, and it has also been conceived within this tension,” Ben J. Riepe explains, “as, during our rehearsal process, yet another turning point of our era was added with the war in Ukraine, casting new light on the questions for a new beginning yet again. The images we see daily will, of course, potentially carry new associative spaces with them for the audiences.”