Emotions and politics
Performance art collective Oblivia is hitting the road with Verdrängen, Verdrängen, Verdrängen whilst putting the finishing touches to their brand-new experimental music theatre production for Theater Bremen.
The Oblivia collective is currently working on Obsessions, a joint production with Theater Bremen and Oper Wuppertal and will be touring this autumn with Verdrängen, Verdrängen, Verdrängen, with performances scheduled in Mannheim, Germany and Chur in Switzerland as well as the Tampere Workers’ Theatre in Finland. Both works form part of the ensemble’s Emotions and Politics music theatre trilogy. Part two, titled Obsessions, is set to debut in Theater Bremen in February 2022.
Under the direction of its founder Annika Tudeer, Oblivia, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, has always had its sights set on international audiences. This focus is reflected not only in the many joint productions and guest appearances the company has enjoyed over the years but in its line-up too. The invitation to join the Wunder der Prärie festival in Mannheim came from a long-term professional contact and, prior to Verdrängen, Verdrängen, Verdrängen, Nature Theatre of Oblivia was performed at the city’s zeitraumexit arts centre. In addition to festivals, zeitraumexit runs artist residencies and serves as a hub for international theatre makers.
Also involved in Verdrängen is Tampere Workers’ Theatre, where performances are scheduled for 9 and 10 November 2021. Afterwards, the collective will travel to Chur in Switzerland, where a further performance is taking place on 18 November.
Wild and frenzied, Verdrängen, Verdrängen, Verdrängen marks the start of a trilogy that for Oblivia represents an opportunity to pursue completely new ways of music theatre making. Yiran Zhao, a composer and sound artist from Germany, has recently joined the ensemble’s line-up to bring an added dimension to that experimentation. The production premiered in Stuttgart in February 2020, just before Covid-19 hit and the world locked down. Instead of conventional musical instruments, Verdrängen turns to minimalism and the human body as a sound-making generator for its creative force.
Obsessions will be on a larger scale than Oblivia’s other productions to date, featuring singers and musicians from both Theater Bremen and Oper Wuppertal, two notable German playhouses. The second part of the Emotions and Politics trilogy will be performed at both venues, but no further tour dates have been scheduled so far. The trilogy will conclude with a final instalment currently carrying the working title of Pleasure.
Oblivia is currently participating in TINFO’s international mobility and mentoring programme MOTI.
TINFO / Sari Havukainen, 1 September 2021
Caption: With the Covid-19 pandemic preventing travel to Bremen, the rehearsals for Obsessions went ahead in Helsinki instead. Three local singers stood in for German cast members and the revolving stage was a loan from the Finnish National Theatre: Annika Tudeer, Juhani Räisänen, Anna-Maija Terävä, Rachel McIntosh, Olivia Shaw and Timo Fredriksson. Photo: Jenny Nordlund