Photo 3D: Alexander Pannier
Whose life counts as life? Democratic societies are based on exclusion, digital control and exploitation of existences considered superfluous. STILL LIFE is a manifesto of re-invented society, a call for a radical new world of relation.


Whose life counts as life? Whose life is still a life? Democratic societies are based on the segregation, digital control and exploitation of existences considered superfluous. Every day we are witness of the brutal denial of the status of living entities to successive groups of beings. STILL LIFE is a choral manifesto of re-invented society, a call for a radical new world of relations. The chorus creates a border-crossing song to expose the invisible mechanisms of violence, exclusion and annihilation of life, turning “never again” into “Auschwitz kein Ende”. The chorus operates with techniques of exaggeration, alienation of language, it exists between lip-sync, language, music and silence. Clashing narrations it creates a digital, post-language song as a monstrous answer to our reality. In the end eight actors, embodying a multiplied Dionysus, god of ecstasy and indestructible life invite you to a vision of a chorus of all living beings: humans and non-humans, living and dead, voices of people murdered in Auschwitz, rhythms of Namibian tribes, animals and all others…
The starting point and metaphor for the performance is the magnificent panorama from the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, the wall of biodiversity. Life and non-life in the same time. 

We must invent everything starting from the community
Nothing is more urgent today in this critical situation

Theater is a place of hope, excerpt of the interview with Marta Górnicka, Arno Widmann, Spielzeitheft 23, Maxim Gorki Theater

Your STILL LIFE is not a still life.
The pandemic hit the chorus in the very heart. Now the chorus starts to breathe again but has also stopped speaking in literal sense. It lip-syncs, creates a new form of chorus theatre. It works on the edge of recorded voice, live voice, music and silence. As if there is no return to what has been. However, in the final scene, SONG OF ALL BEINGS, we hear live voices singing an old Jewish song about a calf going to the slaughterhouse. With a new translation into German, which is more close to the original then before. But we can also recognise Joseph Schmidt’s voice, rhythms of African tribes, kids… A chorus of people and animals, living and dead. Such a chorus never rests. Even the life that has been killed, the still life, speaks to us. It is an utopia. An artistic and a social one.

German critics bristled at your Holocaust phrases.
I feel I have put my fingers into the wounds of the German body. In the play there is a chorus of mothers who survived the Holocaust. They speak of the Holocaust. And the mechanisms that bring it forth again and again. These mothers also say: history repeats itself and nothing repeats itself as often as Auschwitz.


Photo: Ute Langkafel
It is a call for the radical NEW WORLD OF RELATION. Its about the creation of a new society. You regard animals and plants as citizens of this new republic? That´s the dream of course: a community of all forms of life

Is this not something unique?
Fundamental mechanism of annihilation of life is always the same. Auschwitz kein Ende, as Heiner Muller said. Never again can always turning into Auschwitz no end, but frankly speaking, nobody listen to the survivors.The main picture of the production shows the wall of biodiversity from the Berlin Museum of Natural History. A magnificent panorama. The biggest still life in the world. You stand in front of it and know, all these creatures belong together. But then you realise. It doesn’t just show life. It also shows death. As beautiful as the picture is, it is also terrible. West theatre of death disguised as life. This is a metaphor, big sarcophagus many forms of live. Through this one can look on the history of extinct species, historical violence and genocides.The mechanism of annihilation of live is invisible but alive.

"To see a choir, especially one as highly dynamic as this one on stage - becomes a sign of hope."
Gunnar Decker, nd-Actuell
Finally there will be the CHORUS OF ALL BEINGS on the stage - humans and non-humans, living and dead, plants, bones, animals and ancestors. Voices of the murdered in Auschwitz, voices of Namibian tribes from Africa, audience and OTHERS...




Regie, libretto: Marta Gornicka
Composition: Polina Lapkovskaya
Choreography: Anna Godowska
Stage: Robert Rumas
Costume: Sophia May
Sounddesign: Rafal Ryterski
Videoexpander Film: Stefan Korsinsky, Lilli Kuschel, Mikko Gasstel
3D video-animationen: Luis August Krawen, Alexander Pannier
Dramaturgie: Agata Adamiecka- Sitek, Clara Probst
Dolls: Atelier Judith Mahler
Translation: Andreas Volk
Production: Johanna von Regal

Cast: Sandra Bourdonnec, Lindy Larsson Forss, Hila Meckier, Gian Mellone, David JongSung Myung , Vidina Popov, Sesede Terziyan, Rika Weniger

World Premiere: Maxim Gorki Theater, Berlin 31 July, 2021

Eine Produktion des Maxim Gorki Theaters. Still Life ist Teil des Projektes Chorus of Women Berlin, gefördert durch die Kulturstiftung des Bundes und aus Mitteln des Landes Berlin, Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa. Mit freundlicher Unterstützung des Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.



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