An evening full of noise, light and great talent!
Hubert Spiegel, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 6 July 2021
The solo played and sung by Gina Haller is indeed political theatre, but not some cheap agitprop. It is poetic to the point of kitsch and develops its own narrative logic that goes against the usual discourses and techniques of storytelling.
Cornelia Fiedler, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 7 June 2021
In the autumn of 2019, almost one million people took to the streets of Santiago and other cities in Chile. Thirty years after the fall of Pinochet’s dictatorship, the South American state faced great social inequity and poverty in spite of economic growth. An increase in the price of subway tickets by a “mere” thirty pesos was enough to provoke the most extensive protests in the country’s history. The state’s repressive response resulted in seven thousand arrests, hundreds of injuries and nineteen deaths. Over three hundred people suffered eye injuries after police began firing directly at the protesters’ eyes – and it was them who became the symbol of the movement. “They want to blind us, but now we can see much more clearly,” read the sign on one of the banners.
Among the crowd of protesters, there was also one of the leading figures of South American theatre, Manuela Infante. When she was given the opportunity to write and direct a play at the Schauspielhaus Bochum, thanks to winning the prestigious Stückemarkt festival for new drama of the Berliner Theatertreffen, she returned to the events of 2019 in her native Chile. What she created is an original production on the border between poetic installation, radio play and concert, which uses sound images to look not only at the Chilean protests and their acoustic phenomena, but also at the dynamics of mass movements as such.
What is the power of street noise? What role does silent mail play during political unrest? By contrast, how does disinformation spread through the crowd? Can sounds act as weapons? And finally: whose voice carries weight and whose remains unheard? This expressive ride through wavelengths of light and sound is guided by the fantastic Gina Haller, the female acting talent of 2020 (Theater heute), whose home stage Schauspielhaus Bochum boasts one of the most progressive German drama ensembles of today.
directed by Manuela Infante
stage, costume and light design Rocío Hernández Marchant
music and sound design Diego Noguera
dramaturgy Felicitas Arnold
starring Gina Haller
Manuela Infante (1980) is a Chilean playwright, director, screenwriter and musician. She is one of the most prolific and inspiring voices on the contemporary Latin American theatre scene. She is known for her bold articulation of theoretical issues seemingly impossible to transfer on stage (ecology, colonialism), which she ingeniously arranges into attractive compositions using new media.
She studied Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam and continues to divide her artistic career alongside theatre between music and philosophy. “I think theatre brings together music and philosophy, because theatre is pure rhythm, it happens as an unfolding of rhythm through time and space, and at the same time theatre is pure idea. Theatre is a complex system,” Infante explained in an interview. She is also a member of the indie-pop band Bahía Inútil.
As part of festivals and interdisciplinary projects, her work has travelled across three continents (from the USA through Argentina, Spain, Ireland, Germany, Singapore and Korea to Japan). Manuela Infante is the first woman to be appointed director of the National Festival of Dramaturgy in Chile (Muestra Nacional de Dramaturgia).
Gina Haller (1987) is originally from Switzerland, but studied acting at the Cours Florent in Paris in the “Classe libre Promotion XXX” and then at the University of Arts Bern. She had short engagements at Theater Trier and Theater Bremen, and since the 2018/19 season has been a member of Schauspielhaus Bochum. She has worked with renowned directors such as Johan Simons, Sebastian Nübling, Thorleifur Örn Arnarsson, Marco Storman, Alice Buddeberg, Julia Wissert, Alize Zandwijk, and Nina Mattenklotz. She also produces her own theatre works, most recently Jeder Tag ein Vollmond (Every Day a Full Moon), on which she collaborated with the playwright Katja Brunner and the actor Risto Kübar. She has already won a number of theatre prizes for her acting, the most prestigious being the Theater heute magazine’s award for the best new actress of 2020 and the 2021 Berlin Art Prize for performing arts.
Schauspielhaus Bochum is a city theatre with a history of more than a century. Under the influence of its artistic director Johan Simons, a Dutch drama and opera director, it presents itself as a theatre emphasising the multiculturalism of society against the backdrop of the (post)industrial heritage of the Ruhr region in which it is located. Artists of various cultures, nationalities and disciplines – in addition to acting, it is also dance, performance art, music, film and installation art – find their creative home there.
On its four stages (Schauspielhaus, Kammerspiele, Oval Office and Theaterrevier), it offers productions for youth audiences and interpretations of classical plays as well as world premieres of authorial projects which are frequent guests at major international festivals – for example, this year’s Christopher Rüping’s Das neue Leben (The New Life) was invited to the prestigious Berliner Theatertreffen.
Portrait of Manuela Infante with an analysis of her work to date
photo Nicole Marianna Wytyczak