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Laughter in the dark

 28/09, 29/09

by Hotel Pro Forma

Direction, concept, set design: Kirsten Dehlholm

Manuscript: Mogens Rukov
Choreography: Mette Ingvartsen

Music, performed live: Nils Frahm 

Albinus - Thomas Mørk
Rex - Johannes Lilleøre

Margot - Clara Fasting Prebensen

Once upon a time there lived in Berlin, Germany, a man called Albinus. He was rich, respectable, happy; one day he abandoned his wife for the sake of a youthful mistress; he loved; was not loved; and his life ended in disaster.

Thus begins Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Laughter in the Dark: a gruesome yet brilliant story of Albinus. A man who is seduced by his own desire for a young girl and leaves his wife and child. He later loses his sight and deceived by his young lover and best friend. It is a tale of human nature: hate, desire, evil and helplessness.

This classic story is told through a series of visual and audio effects. The audience experiences how their own senses are influenced and challenged in combination with the main characters’. The performance is divided into three acts, three versions of the same story, where our senses are used differently each time. Nils Frahm creates and performs the music live.

Act 1 The Dark 
The room is completely blacked out and the audience is wearing headphones. We experience the world as Albinus: with out our sense of sight, desperate and powerless. The dark and the 3D sound through the headphones amplifies the other senses and the meaning of the spoken word. The story is told backwards, where the tragic and violent ending opens the performance.
Act 2 The Light
 The room is now seen for the first time: the set is an irreversible machine in constant motion. The room is multiplied by mirrors and shadow-play, creating optical illusions. The movement of the performers amplifies the text and create insecurity. The background for the ending of the story is told via headphones; the performers are brought incredibly close to the audience. A corporeal, sensorial and illusorily presentation.
Act 3 The Music A live piano concert completes the piece. Music retells the story. The compositions reflect the fatal finish with an inciting musical sequence. The body thinks twice before the curtain closes.