L & O Amsterdam   Made in heaven - our own version SINGDANCE #2

Made in Heaven/our own version/Singdance #2 is rather a social gathering than a traditional theatre-performance; a three-hour-performance-piece with the doors open all the time. The audience can make their own decisions about when to leave or take a break. They can go to the cafe and come back, or they can remain inside till closing time. Here, they can sit, lay, or walk around. In fact, the dominant atmosphere in the performance-space is one of taking a break, of relaxing, of letting the mind wander, giving the eyes a rest by looking to things which at first glance didnít seem worth to be noticed.

The audience is offered different possibilities for sitting or laying. There are small groupings of chairs, a small tribune, two low japanese beds and two rugs with blue meditation-cushions; all loosely scattered around the space with different sight-lines. At the entrance people can remain standing near high bar-tables. From all these positions, however, the audience can face an almost empty area with some musical equipment on the floor. This area is cut of by a line of four meditation-benches: the domain of the performers. Apart from this so called centre of concentration there are different sites to entertain the wandering audience: a reading-table with newspapers and magazins, a video-installtion and a video-projection. Along the walls of the space: an improvised tea-stall and a big gong, which is beaten every fifteen minutes.
The performance is based on a fixed structure of different time-cycles. The most visible time-cycle is formed by a loop of changing theatre-lights. The space changes between being totally lit, partially dark, totally dark and lit only by reflection etc.: altogether seven different light-positions each lasting for three minutes and forty seconds. This loop runs 7 times during the evening, and is not influenced by the actions of the performers or the audience. It follows its own order, like changes in the weather.

Another time-cycle functions as the spine of the theatre-piece. Every half hour the performers are silent for fifteen minutes. They dive into a state of non-activity by sitting meditating. Between these periods of silence, the performers sing, dance, read textes, serve tea, tell jokes, yell nursery rhymes into the microphone or carry banners around. All these actions stand on their own and are presented as isolated acts without consequences for the past or the future. They are are just what they are, consumed by the moment itself.
In Made in Heaven/our own version/Singdance #2, time is not passing along a dramatic structure of growing tensions or underlying conflicts. On the contrary; there is no dramatic development at all in these three hours. The only thing the audience can identify with, is an atmosphere of nothingness and concentration without tension. It confronts the spectators with their own expectations and subjective habits of looking at theatre.

The tendency of the evening is towards silence and emptiness. Rigid divisions in time and space become more and more diffuse. For both the public and the performers the difference between non-action and activity disappears; the meditation-sessions start to function as integrated parts of the performance, not only as breaks. The situation dissolves; it doesnít seem to matter anymore if there is silence or a song to hear. The atmosphere becomes calm; no more goals to reach nor expectations to fulfil. Even the barriers between performers and spectators disappear. During the last hour the performers withdraw themselves from the task of performing and join the spectators who sit and lay and relax. At that moment one can experience what it means to stop time and empty the space: forget about time, slow down, empty the head and enjoy being in the space.

Made in heaven/our own version/Singdance #2 is made and played by Anneke Bonnema and Hans Petter Dahl with the assistance and participation of Jacquine van Elsberg and Robert Steijn.