“Now this is luxury. I am enjoying a play all to myself - and not because of poor ticket sales for this performance in Brussels. It's by the cult German theatre collective Rimini Protokoll, and it involves me being on the phone to a call centre in India. There's nobody quite like them in Britain, where they have yet to perform. In fact, there's nobody quite like them anywhere.”
-- The Times (UK)
“Wildly entrancing, and in that way theatre at its best. One of the most puzzling, affecting performances I have attended." -- Politiken (Denmark)
NEW YORK (December 18)— The Goethe-Institut New York, a branch of the Federal Republic of Germany’s global cultural institution, is pleased to announce the U.S. premiere of Call Cutta in a Box, billed as an intercontinental phone play by Rimini Protokoll. This daring trio of art provocateurs -- Helgard Haug, Stefan Kaegi and Daniel Wetzel -- has staged Karl Marx’s Capital, led audiences on a mobile tour of Berlin, and featured Bulgarian truck drivers discussing controversial European issues. Now Rimini Protokoll brings its European call center sensation, Call Cutta in a Box, to America in a production presented by the Goethe-Institut New York and launched during the Public Theater’s acclaimed Under the Radar festival.
In Call Cutta in a Box, the audience is comprised of a single participant: you. Imagine that you are buying a ticket at the box office for an individual show on a specific day, but are not led to the auditorium of the theatre. Instead, you get the key for a room and a sketch of how to get there. You open the door and you find a phone ringing. You answer and someone strikes up a conversation. The person seems to know the room you are sitting in, even though she or he is far away in a call center in Calcutta, India. Usually, these agents sell credit cards and insurance on the phone to people on the other side of the globe or provide navigational help in cities that they have never been to themselves. But this time you are not supposed to buy anything. By now, you are standing at the window and your transcontinental conversation partner is pointing some curious people in the opposite building out to you. On the notebook desktop in your room images and videos are opening up out of nowhere. The story emerges as you realize that the caller and you and your city are at the center of the plot.
Helgard Haug, Stefan Kaegi and Daniel Wetzel met as students and work together (in various combinations) under the name of Rimini Protokoll. They are recognized as pacesetters in the theater movement known as "Reality Trend" (Theater der Zeit), which exerts a powerful influence on the alternative theater scene. Each project begins with a concrete situation in a specific place and is then developed through an intense exploratory process. They have attracted international attention with their dramatic works, which take place in the grey area between reality and fiction.
Since 2000, Rimini Protokoll has brought its "theatre of experts" to the stage and into city spaces, interpreted by non-professional actors who are called "experts" for that very reason. Notable highlights include Shooting Bourbaki, which won the NRW-Impulse Prize in 2003 (the same year that Theater magazine called them the most promising young directors of the year); Deadline, presented in the Berlin Theatre Encounters in 2004; Schwarzenbergplatz, nominated in Austria for the Nestroy Prize for Theatre, and Wallenstein, performed in the Berlin Theatre Encounters in 2006. Their extremely topical piece, Mnemopark, won the Jury Prize at the Politik im freien Theater (Politics in Free Theatre) festival, while Karl Marx: Das Kapital, Erster Band won the Mülheimer Dramatiker Prize in 2007. Last November, Haug, Kaegi and Wetzel were awarded the prestigious German DER FAUST prize for theatre.
About the show: Call Cutta in a Box (Haug/Kaegi/Wetzel). Presented by the Goethe-Institut New York at the Goethe-Institut New York, 1014 Fifth Ave (at 83rd Street), New York, NY 10028, (212) 439-8700. Running time: 50 minutes, ticket price: $15. Engagement begins with the Public Theater’s Under the Radar festival: 01/07/09 – 01/18/09: every day, 6 shows daily, 11-4pm hourly. After the festival: 01/20/09-02/27/09: Monday to Saturday (except 01/31/09 & President’s Day, Feb 16), 6 shows a day: 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm. Tickets are available through www.brownpapertickets.com, same day tickets at the Goethe-Institut New York.
Credits: Call Cutta in a Box is a production of Rimini Apparat in collaboration with the Callcenter Descon Limited in Calcutta (www.desconsoft.com), coproduced with Baltic Circle Helsinki and Helsinki Festival, Camp X Kopenhagen, HAU Berlin, Kunstenfestivaldesarts Brüssel, Nationaltheater Mannheim, Schauspielhaus Zürich and 104 Centquatre Paris; and supported by the European Cultural Foundation.
Rimini Protokoll (www.rimini-protokoll.de) is a participant in Under the Radar Festival 2009 (www.undertheradarfestival.com), a program of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Annual Members Conference, with major funding by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation. The festival is produced by Mark Russell and The Public Theater.
The Goethe-Institut New York is a branch of the Federal Republic of Germany's global cultural institute, established to promote the study of German language and culture abroad, encourage international cultural exchange, and provide information on Germany's culture, society, and politics. Ludlow 38, created in collaboration between the Goethe-Institut New York and Kunstverein München, is a new art space on the Lower East Side. In Spring 2009, Goethe-Institut Wyoming Building will open in the thriving Bowery Arts District. For details on upcoming events and to join the mailing list, please visit: www.goethe.de/newyork.
Added by LACerand on December 19, 2008