19 edycja

Gob Squad’s Kitchen

“If tomorrow I find somebody who is pretty much like me and I put her here to sing, she can be Nico while I go and do something else.”

It’s 1965 and everything is just about to happen. Pop, subculture, superstars, feminism, drugs, bright lights, and sex are about to rock the world like never before. Gob Squad take the hand of the King Of Pop himself, Andy Warhol, and take a trip back to the underground cinemas of New York City, back to where it all began.

Gob Squad’s Kitchen takes one of Warhol’s films, “Kitchen”, as its starting point. Nothing much happens in the original film yet it somehow encapsulates the hedonistic experimental energy of the swinging sixties. Learning lines was considered “old fashioned” so the actors just hang around. Sex, drugs and wild parties are referred to but nothing in particular takes place. As Edie Sedgwick, one of the film’s stars, says “I live my part too – only I can’t figure out what my part is in this movie.”

Gob Squad set themselves the task of reconstructing “Kitchen” and other Warhol films such as “Eat”, “Sleep” and “Screen Test”. How can they get it just right? How do they know if they’re going wrong? How did people dance in 1965? What did they talk about? Had feminism happened? Or was it yet to begin? “Gob Squad’s Kitchen” becomes a journey back in time and back to the future again. A quest for the original, the authentic, the here and now, the real me, the real you, the hidden depths beneath the shiny surfaces of modern life.

Gob Squad’s Kitchen is one of the company’s most widely toured shows, having been performed well over 100 times throughout Europe and beyond. In January 2012 the piece was performed every day for a month at The Public Theater in New York to huge acclaim, giving the locals a chance to see part of the mythology of their city through the eyes of the English/German collective.

When Gob Squad’s Kitchen premiered in 2007, advanced preparations for the staging of Krystian Lupa’s “Factory 2” were well under way (opening night: February 2008). Back then Lupa worked with two playwrights, Iga Gańczarczyk and Magda Stojowska, who authored the script and researched Warhol’s work and biography, including his “Factory”: quasi-institution, arts collective, squat and studio that Warhol created together with his entourage in Manhattan between 1962 – 1984. Lupa’s show, congenial, a milestone in his creative work, was an attempt to achieve, in the words of Rebecca Schneider, a “reenactment” – to repeat that experience, restore the original “Factory’s” phenomenon, except in the context of a contemporary group of artists associated with the Polish director.

All the more astonishing is the fact that Warhol’s “Kitchen” hasn’t been officially screened in Poland yet. Lupa and Gob Squad measure up to the myth of Andy Warhol’s in a completely different way, though it is worth reading the two spectacles in parallel, to see how diverse the languages of contemporary theatre and performance might be.

Gob Squad
Gob Squad is a seven-headed monster, an arts collective with seven bosses. Gob Squad has a schizophrenic identity and a multiple split personality: hermaphrodite, bi-national and bilingual, both a patchwork family and a social utopia. Gob Squad have been devising, directing and performing together since 1994, working where theatre meets art, media and real life.

Always on the hunt for beauty amidst the mundane, they place their work at the heart of urban life: in houses, shops, underground stations, car parks, hotels, or even directly on the street, as well as in theatres and galleries. Everyday life and magic, banality and idealism, reality and entertainment are all set on a collision course and the unpredictable results are captured on video.

Motivated by a desire to elevate the everyday and empower audience members to step beyond their traditional role as passive spectators, Gob Squad set up often absurdly utopian scenarios where meaningful collective experience and genuine encounters involving passers-by and audience members are suddenly possible. Audiences seem to like the feeling that anything might happen during an evening with Gob Squad. They might be asked to dance, sing or even kiss one of the performers. They might play the guitar in a band, play the part of a lover or liberator in a semi-improvised film, or be asked to explain the complexities of the world to an unknown future. Or they might just simply be asked to sit and bear witness to the organised chaos unfolding on stage before them.

For almost 20 years, Gob Squad have been searching for new ways to combine media and performance, producing stage shows, video installations, radio plays, interactive live films and urban interventions. The use of audio and video technology plays a prominent role in their work, with the result that alienated forms of intimacy have become a central theme. They try to scratch beneath the shiny, pixelated surface of the 21st century, seeking out the dark corners and hidden desires of contemporary culture.

Gob Squad was founded in 1994, whilst its members were still at Nottingham Trent and Giessen universities. Berlin has been the group’s creative home since 1999. Core members are Johanna Freiburg, Sean Patten, Sharon Smith, Berit Stumpf, Sarah Thom, Bastian Trost and Simon Will. Other artists are invited to collaborate on particular projects. The group is managed by Eva Hartmann.

Gob Squad’s international reputation has grown steadily since coming to prominence at Documenta X in 1997. Their productions have been shown worldwide (including in Australia, India, South Korea, Brazil, Canada and the US), where projects such as “Super night shot” (2003), “Gob Squad’s Kitchen” (2007), “Saving The World” (2008, winner of the Goethe Preis at the Impulse Festival), “Revolution Now!” (2010) and most recently “Before Your Very Eyes” (2011, selected for Germany’s Theatertreffen) have received wide critical acclaim.

Performance in English.

Concept: Gob Squad
Devised and performed by: Johanna Freiburg, Sean Patten, Berit Stumpf, Sarah Thom, Bastian Trost, Simon Will, Sharon Smith, Nina Tecklenburg, Laura Tonke
Guest performer: Erik Pold
Video: Miles Chalcraft (Martin Cooper)
Sound Design: Jeff McGrory (Jeffrey Fisher)
Stage Design: Gob Squad and Chasper Bertschinger