performance

alexandra bachzetsis – "the stages of staging: museum version"
28 Sep 2013

As part of its acclaimed performance program, the Stedelijk Museum is proud to present the eagerly anticipated new performance by Alexandra Bachzetsis, entitled The Stages of Staging.

Location: Teijin Auditorium, Stedelijk Museum
Time: 
September 28, 2013, 12:00 – 5:30 PM
Language: English
Entrance: Entrance price to the museum + additional charge € 2,50
Reservations: It is necessary to make a reservation. Send an e-mail to reservations@stedelijk.nl, stating your full name, e-mail address, telephone number, and the date of the program you want to attend.

You are cordially invited to see the whole performance (12 - 5.30 pm) or one of the three parts:

  • Section 1: Stage Version - 12 - 1.30 pm
  • Section 2: Gym Interlude - 1.30 - 4 pm
  • Section 3: Stage Version Retake - 4 - 5.30 pm

As part of its acclaimed performance program, the Stedelijk Museum is proud to present the eagerly anticipated new performance by Alexandra Bachzetsis, entitled The Stages of Staging. This five-hour-long durational performance work offers visitors compelling insights into the individual and collective aspirations and desires of a cast of performers as they play on and off stage, on and off camera, in and out of sync, and alone and in harmony. Storylines, dance sequences, and individual reflections alternate and overlap. According to Bachzetsis, “It’s a romance. It’s a romantic comedy. It’s an action movie. It’s a cover version.”

In the monochrome interior of a gym, strewn with blue athletic mats and balls, ten performers enact their routines. Slowly, the gym reveals itself to be a film set, the scenes so many images. Surreal athletic training turns into frantic, trance-like dancing; personal confessions transform into pop songs. In a special five-hour-long durational version of the original stage piece The Stages of Staging (2013), scenes are suspended, doubled, rehearsed, and looped. Specially invited coaches enter the piece and stage workshops on its most intrinsic elements and movements, from wrestling and martial arts to learning how to become more fully one’s self – offering the audience several entry points into the performance. 

As in the original stage version of the work, rehearsals for the production’s video trailer blur into practices for physical training, dance becomes an athletic discipline, and song mutates into movement. The trope of the meta-film (with its evocative hierarchies) and contemporary video-promotion culture (with its elliptical narrative elisions) are employed as models for how we live and work, how we see and promote ourselves, and how we depict desire – our own and the audience’s. Ideas of athleticism and privatized fitness programs are seamlessly integrated into tropes of show business and dance. As the performers move decisively through various cultural codes and genres – from the meta-films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Britain’s working-class Northern Soul, and 1990s-era rave culture to contemporary privatized athletic training and modes of self-promotion and staging informed by the Internet – questions are raised. How does one tell a story through moving images and the bodies that compose them? What compels us to stage our privacy for a public? Finally, what kind of film is being staged here and are we watching the process of its construction, its reconstruction, its failure, or simply its trailer? 

Using archetypal film stills as research material for composition, mats as projection surfaces for video close-ups, and athletic balls as physical props, Bachzetsis’s work explores contemporary ideas of identity in terms of image-making and framing. The cast’s sheer physicality – inflected by a breadth of cultural influences whose cool commercialization is integral to their reception –  offers distinct alternatives for the self and the world in which it is staged. As the work loops, its many takes and retakes find the performers becoming exhausted, the language of their movement becoming more reduced, existential, distilled, and intense. Identity formation and self-promotion become intertwined, while the possibilities of the work itself become ever more open.  

For more information about Alexandra Bachzetzis, please visit: http://www.alexandrabachzetsis.com/index.php/biography.html 

Credits performance

CONCEPT AND CHOREOGRAPHY Alexandra Bachzetsis
PERFORMERS Emese Csornai, Staiv Gentis, Kristinn Guðmundsson, Kiriakos Hadjiioannou, Kennis Hawkins, Michael Helland, Benjamin Jäger, Emilie Nana, Liz Santoro, Peter Sattler
MUSEUM VERSION SPECIAL GUEST Otobong Nkanga 
DRAMATURGY Quinn Latimer 
MUSIC Lies Vanborm, Tobias Koch
LIGHTS Tina Bleuler 
TECHNIQUE Patrik Rimann
COSTUMES Patrizia Jaeger
COSTUME AND PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Cosima Gadient 
COMMUNICATION DESIGN Julia Born 
PHOTOGRAPHY AND CINEMATOGRAPHY Melanie Hofmann 
HAIR AND MAKEUP FOR TRAILER Seraina Kraushaar 
PRODUCTION/ASSOCIATION All Exclusive 
PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT Anna Geering 
SUPPORTED BY Stadt Zürich Kultur, Kanton Basel-Landschaft, Kanton Basel-Stadt, Pro Helvetia - Schweizer Kulturstiftung, Markus Weisskopf Basel, Migros-Kulturprozent, Ernst Göhner Stiftung, GGG Basel, Ernst und Olga Gubler-Hablützel Stiftung, Basellandschaftliche Kantonalbank Jubiläumsstiftung, Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation 
THEATER VERSION COPRODUCED by Kaserne Basel and Theaterhaus Gessnerallee Zürich 
MUSEUM VERSION COPRODUCED by Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
IN COOPERATION with Dampfzentrale Bern, ADC Genève, Théâtre Sévelin 36 Lausanne, within Reso – dance network Switzerland // Triptic – Kulturaustausch am Oberrhein 
SPECIAL THANKS go to the many private supporters.