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. 

Ute Langkafel
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, Maxim Gorki Theater

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”. (…) 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. 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. 

In the final scene, SONG OF ALL BEINGS, we hear live voices singing an old Jewish song about a calf going to the slaughterhouse. 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. (…)

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

Gunnar Decker, ND-ACTUELL 

To see a chorus, especially one as highly dynamic as this one on stage – becomes a sign of hope.

Doris Meierhenrich, BERLINER ZEITUNG 

Manifesto immediately calls out everything that exists: the living and the dead, animals, plants, bits and bytes, a “choir of mothers who survived the Holocaust”, Bobby, the stuffed gorilla in the natural history museum and various, digital hordes and tyrants.

Gunnar Decker, ND-ACTUELL 

This choir from the ensemble of the Gorki Theater is highly virtuosic and absolut precise. The individual voices multiply into a powerful trio or quartet, sometimes with each other, sometimes against each other, the voices act like instruments in a symphonic concert. Occasionally they overturn when everyone is speaking at the same time: a well- calculated cacophony. If you wanted to describe the subject of this choir more precisely, one would have to speak of a postmodern requiem. The viewer is not supposed to be instructed about the pain, but rather to be made insecure about what he thinks he knows.

Anke Schaefer, RBB24

In precisely timed choreography the eight performers call us to change, because what this choir sees is capitalism, racism, colonialism and patriarchy. Everywhere: violence. While talking about all catastrophes, the choir is bubbling over with joy in playing.

Lutz Knospe
"To see a choir, especially one as highly dynamic as this one on stage - becomes a sign of hope."
Gunnar Decker, nd-Actuell
Lutz Knospe
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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