Blood, sweat, tears, and water – the elixir of life. Gastric acid and little fishies and mermaids floating in the waters. Nymphs and sirens. Sirens, whose alluring song attracts passing sailors in order to kill them. You are the fish that you catch. The rebirth of the flaunting cis-women, gliding their bodies through the water. Like in a zen garden. Elegance. Reversed striptease where it feels strange to see the women in clothes, or even to be dressed yourself. Nudity. The naked truth and the bliss of togetherness – of collectivity. Support, encouragement, and a lot of happiness. You can’t look away, like when there’s an accident. Except it’s not an accident. Being wanted. It creates a profound sense of belonging. It establishes a connection with others, making us feel included, accepted, and part of a bigger picture. Soaking in positive energy, and then singing and shouting together like there’s no tomorrow. Pain and anger. Then looking at yourself in the mirror, and deciding to move on with smudged mascara. Intended disharmony, discomfort like salt in a wound. Going against the wind. Harmony, love, healing. Feminism. “Ophelia’s Got Talent”.
If the standard for „remarkable“ theatre is the productions shown at the Theatertreffen, then Ophelia’s Got Talent definitely falls out of this scale in comparison with the other plays shown. Because „remarkable“ is simply an understatement in this case. It’s a piece that has firmly anchored itself in my memory from its first to its last moments. Like the hook in the cheek of one of the performers. It was touching, it was engaging, and it was a statement. A statement – something that was definitely missing from the others in the selection so far. It was, quite literally, breathtaking. A love letter and a hate letter at the same time, not exaggerated, but just right.
As a former participant in the Theatertreffen der Jugend – and therefore also as a former performer – I always ask myself whether I would perform in one of the plays myself. Do I want to take responsibility with my face and my body – in front of crowds of people – for what is happening on stage, through me and around me? Am I ready to be held accountable for it? After a look behind the scenes through talking to the performer Saioa Alvarez Ruiz, and actually right after I stepped out of the Volksbühne after experiencing “Ophelia’s Got Talent”, the answer is quite clear to me: yes.
Rewriting theatre history on the big, conservative stages – that must be just great.
Ophelia’s Got Talent
Concept & direction: Florentina Holzinger
Sound design: Stefan Schneider, Music: Paige A. Flash, Urška Preis, Stefan Schneider, Stage: Nikola Knežević, Lighting design: Anne Meeussen, Video design: Melody Alia, Jens Crull, Max Heesen, Live camera: Melody Alia, Live editing: Max Heesen, Dramaturgy: Renée Copraij, Sara Ostertag, Fernando Belfiore, Michele Rizzo, Dramaturgy Volksbühne: Johanna Kobusch, Production management: Dana Tucker, Stephan Werner, Management & International Distribution Something Great: Katharina Wallisch.
With: Melody Alia, Saioa Alvarez Ruiz, Inga Busch, Renée Copraij, Sophie Duncan, Fibi Eyewalker, Paige A. Flash, Florentina Holzinger, Annina Machaz, Xana Novais, Netti Nüganen, Urška Preis, Zora Schemm and Stella Adriana Bergmann, Greta Grip, Golda Kaden, Izzy Kleiner, Lea Schünemann, Nike Strunk, Laila Yoalli Waschke, Zoë Willens.
Premiere at Volksbühne on September 15th, 2022
Duration: 2 hours 40 minutes, no intermission