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© Barbara Liebhart



Production 5 in the Cycle


in German, Polish and American English

Premiere: 01.04.2003 20:00

Last Performance: 07.06.2003 19:30

Performances: Vienna: 2, 3, 4, 5, 11, 12, 23, 24, 25, 26 April; 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10 May; Krakow: 5.-7. of June - in the framework of the Vienna Days in Krakow

Text: Eva Brenner (A/USA)

Director: Lee Breuer (USA) (Performance 1), Eva Brenner (Performance 2)

Performing artists: Axel Bagatsch (D) (Peformance 2), Daniel Kundi (A), Clemens Matzka (A), Maren Rahmann (D), Agnieszka Salamon (PL), Stephanie Waechter (A), Anne Wiederhold (D) (Performance 1)

Stage/Installation: Walter Lauterer (A)

Assistance: Verena Wiegand (D)

Dramaturgy: Eva Brenner, Kristin Matschiner, Axel Bagatsch

Music: Jaroslav Korán (CZ), Anton Burger (A)

Composition: Peter Kaizar (A)

Videodocumentation: Walter Lauterer (A)

Costume Design: Barbara Liebhart (A)

Choreography: Sibylle Starkbaum (A)

Research Adviser: Peter Kreisky (A)

“SEARCHING FOR JAKOB“ is a Work-in-Progress using authentic material regarding the hidden Jewish identity of a father who joined the SA in 1938 and died in 1977 due to the delayed reaction of a war illness. The American avantgarde- director Lee Breuer (New York) and the Austrian author and director Eva Brenner (Vienna/New York) compile two different viewpoints of a text in an evening, in the same room and with the same performers.

The content and form of the two performances point at the experiences rich in conflict and perception processes of those „born after“, from different cultures, with contemporary history; the preoccupation with our collective past, which gives way to the present.

Lee Breuer’s scenic montage melts elements of choral narration with mismatched pieces of pop-culture, dance sequences, musical compositions, puppets and singing with live performers and political cabaret in Brecht-like distanced style. With the text-choreographic chorus work – several actors represent a theatrical figure, at the same time expressing diverging traits and emotions – the mechanisms of “manipulation” are explored: people move each other and are moved... In the fragmentary text material Breuer discovers the paradox existence of a “Jewish Nazi” and illuminates the ambivalent sides of the victim-perpetrator dynamic. More “memory landscape” than reconstruction of a “true” story, the performance vaults room and time, wins a whimsical humor from the dark biographic events, enriches them with lyric moments, and thus, to some extent, becomes an “absurd story”.

The performance of the director and author Eva Brenner works with frugal resources and nears itself, with the aid of biographical fragments in minimalistic space and body improvisations, to the mechanics of (cognitive and non-cognitive) memory work; asks the question after a critical reflection on the past. In silent pictures she paints outlines of the emotional constitution of those “born after”. Surreal and narrative pictures are retrieved from the not-conscious, the condition of repression, and projected into the room as if on an empty canvas. In doing so the technique of repetition, of foreshadowing, and the transformation from guiding thematic picture/sound/movement material stand in the foreground. Formal methods serve to distinguish personal as well as collective motives for action and perceptual processes, displaying themselves in approach or rejection movements. In poetic associative sequences memory particles are processed in a spatial choreographic manner and visual/sound documents from biographical resources intermingled with the present.

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