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ENDSPIEL in process 1-5 (1998/99)

5 Performances based on "Endgame" (1957) by Samuel Beckett

© Peter Korrak


Production 1 in the cycle

Physical and spatial associations based on texts by Samuel Beckett

Premiere: 23.09.1998

Director: Eva Brenner

Performing artists: Marcelo Gama, Beate Göbel, Susanne Hahnl, Maren Rahmann

Departing from Beckett's play "Endgame" and based on the actors' "private mythologies", the performance explores the loss of utopia at the end of the millenium. This loss of visions, hopes and utopian ideas typical for our society goes hand in hand with a deeper process of displacement and isolation of the individual. We are said to move globally closer and closer while at the same time placing more and more distances between ourselves.

Excerpts from Beckett's play are set in the environment of a fashionable cocktail-lounge. Like in a zoo, behind glass windows, well-situated and bored people are in search for the next exciting event to fill the void of daily life. In this space of "endtime", the struggle to maintain a privileged lifestyle has a high price.


"... Finished, it's finished, nearly finished, it must be nearly finished. Pause."

Samuel Beckett, Endgame


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© Kulturzentrum bei den Minoriten


Production 2 in the Cycle

Coproduction with Kulturzentrum bei den Minoriten Graz

Physical and spatial associations based on texts by Samuel Beckett, John Cage, Meister Eckhart, Heiner Müller

Start: 20.11.1998
Kulturzentrum bei den Minoriten Graz

The performance takes place throughout the environment of the baroque cloister complex. Beginning with an ouverture in the medieval courtyards and accompanied by live-music and torch-lights, the audiences are moved up the stairs into the large refectorium. A square of white sand in the middle of the space marks a magical playing arena. "Private mythologies", minimalist physical and movement images help transport the texts: 1. The personal aspect of "no thing" (positive and negative utopia), 2. The social, collectively experienced "no thing", and 3. The philosophical and existentialist "no thing". What for some has led into an a-political dead-end - the "road into nothing" - opens up new dimensions of experience for others.


"Whoever asks life for a thousand years: ‚Why do you live?' - it would answer nothing more than: ‚I live so that I may live.'"

- Meister Eckhart

Press about this Performance

[Mesmerizing ]

"... a mesmerizing acting-dance-performance of Eva Brenner's Projekttheater Wien-New York."

- Kronenzeitung, 11. 11. 1998


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© Peter Korrak, Walter Lauterer


Production 3 in the Cycle

Physical and spatial associations based on texts by Samuel Beckett, with citations of Elfriede Jelinek, Ingeboerg Bachmann, Paul Celan u.a.

Premiere: 17.12.1998
Director: Eva Brenner
Ton: Projekt Theater STUDIO
Vienna, December 1998

The performance presents a provoking confrontation of spatial, physical and textual fragments from "Endgame in Process" 1 and 2. For the frist time, the ensemble interacts directly with the audience which is seated in the middle of the acting arena - in a metaphorical public hall - and is integrated into the "symposium on the no-thing". Both "apocalypse" and "utopia" are signified spatially and through physical actions, projecting two alternative visions for man's future: movement or stagnation? In the gap between "endtime-feelings" propagated by the media, and utopianism at the end of the millenium, the question for possible strategies of personal resistance arises.


"Nothing is funnier than unhappiness. I grant you that. But -"

- Samuel Beckett, Endgame


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© Peter Korrak


Production 4 in the Cycle
Physical and spatial associations based on texts by Samuel Beckett

Premiere: 21.03.1999
Director: Terry O’Reilly (USA)
Ton: Projekt Theater STUDIO
Vienna, March/May 1999

With Terry O'Reilly, "comedy-specialist from New York, the STUDIO begins an extended collaboration with international guest-artists.


"If we concentrate on the purely physical aspects of performance, we are touching the heart of Beckett's intentions. What we experience onstage, like a burning flame, is the desire for the ‚other', what we see in front of us, is a fire exstinguished. ... If we show that each slap in the face is very intimate, very personal, and at the same time of global significance, then we catch the truth. Thus, let us concentrate on the laughter, which stems from this slap - on that truth and the horror which flows from it."

- Terry O’Reilly


"Did you ever have an instant of happiness? ... Not to my knowledge."

- Samuel Beckett, Endgame"


Press about this Performance
Director Terry O'Reilly (...) opened the lid to Beckett's endtime-space and transformed the acid air of death as new life breath instilled into his five characters."

- Der Standard, 23. 3. 1999


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© Walter Lauterer

ENDGAME in process 5: NATURE WAR


PREMIERE: 01.11.1999
PERFORMANCES: 8.11., 15.11., 22.11., 29.11.1999

Director: Eva Brenner
Ton: Walter Lauterer
Lighting: Walter Lauterer
Ensemble: Beate Göbel, Clemens Matzka, Maren Rahmann

The performance is the fifth and last part of a series of productions based on Beckett's play since the fall of 1998. "ENDGAME IN PROCESS 5: NATURE WAR" represents the radical new attempt of combining set performance fragments with structured improvisations in front of an audience. Five performances will be developed over the course of five weeks in several phases of closed and public improvisations. Each week a section relying on specific spatial structures and themes will be rehearsed at the STUDIO with participation of an interdisciplinary guest artist, and then performed live for one night only. For the frist time, interdisciplinary collaboration plays a central part of the performance as well-known artstists will improvise in tandem with the Ensemble in front of the audience.

The work-in-progress follows the physical and spatial states or "temperatures" of LYING, SITTING, STANDING, WALKING, and RUNNING, mirroring the evolutionary process of man's development. This choreographic structure will be maintained by the performers throughout one evening; the audience is invited to participate by taking on the same physical states, or to freely roam the space.

The performance explores our contemporary relationship to nature and war, as well the connection between the two. "Nature" means more than the physical environment and extends to our own bodies (inner and outer space). "War" does not begin and end with bombs, it signifies our daily behaviour - our language, thought, and actions - filtered onstage through archetypical contemporary characters.

A preview-performance of "ENDGAME IN PROCESS 5: Nature War" was shown in Graz upon invitation by the art association, NEXT, as part of their 5th International Project for Visual Arts 1999, to be presented in the expansive environment of the former state prison underneath Graz' Castle (October 21st, 1999, 5:30 pm, exhibition opening under the patronance of LH Waltraut Klasnic).


"Why this farce, day after day?"

"One must live with the times."

Samuel Beckett, Endgame


Press about this Performance


"... An intensive working through the text and a thorough look at the problems of our time lead to an intensity rarely experienced in the theater. …This experimental theater, positively unique in Vienna's theater world, concentrates on essentials. There are no stage lights, an open space, sparse furniture, actors, guest artists and the spectators are the sole living particles from which this "poor" theater is built. From absolute reduction grows complete density."

- Die Furche, 25. November 1999, Nr. 47/18


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