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Katie Mitchell. LUNGS

28 September, 9 pm. and 29 September, 7 pm.
Arts printing house, Black hall

Schaubühne Berlin
Directed by – Katie Mitchell
Text – Duncan Macmillan
Dramaturgy – Nils Haarman
Scenography and costumes – Chloe Lamford
Sound design – Max ir Ben Ringham
Lighting design – Jack Knowles
Duration 1 h 15 min (no intervals)
Katie Mitchell is one of the most interesting contemporary theatre directors; her productions are presented on the most important stages in London, Milan, Dublin, Copenhagen, New York and Stockholm as well as in various international theatre festivals. Performance “Lungs” is not her first work in the repertoire of German Schaubühne. The famous theatre, established in 1962 and led by German theatre legend Thomas Ostermeier since 1999, is known for its determination to find a unique contemporary and experimental theatre language.
With Duncan Macmillan’s new play, Katie Mitchell examines personal and global conflicts at the dawn of the new millennium. And this she does by having actors pedal bikes on stage to power the lights, sound and video projections for the performance. Four other cyclists on stage assist them in this work of power. Of course, all of them are on bikes. What could be a better way to remind us of the world and its anxieties that are addressed by the actors?
The present day. A couple in their late twenties live in a big city. Both are well-educated and have interesting jobs. They buy their coffee fair-trade and, as a matter of principle, boycott big chain stores. They watch art-house films with subtitles and read books about current political topics. “We are decent people” they keep reassuring themselves.
At the same time: the world’s population is over 7 billion, with 2.6 more born every second. The demand for food and drinking water is rising alongside the consumption of energy and resources. It’s getting crowded. Global warming, natural disasters and an increasingly unpredictable climate seem to be the more harmless side effects. Civil wars for water, food and resources loom in the near future.
Can you bring a person into this world? The couple would like to have a baby, and this is the conflict: “I could fly every day from London to New York for seven years and would still leave a smaller carbon footprint than if I had a child”. Ten thousand tons of CO2.” The clock’s ticking whilst they argue – what will be destroyed first: their relationship or the environment?
“Two endearing characters and their agonizing and exhausting discourse about personal and global happiness “ – Reinhard Wengierek, “Die Welt“
“Mitchell has apparently found a congenial form for Macmillan's piece in the way she uses high-performance sports, cycling in this case, as a metaphor for the ecological dilemma, the way she has the dialogue shift gears parallel to the turning of the bicycle wheels, the way the she shows us the lovers, so far away from each other on their bikes, as lone fighters, each struggling for enlightenment” – Anne Peter, “Die Tageszeitung“
“It's [a] small, bittersweet, thoughtful, truthful, insightful [performance]“ – Andrew Heydon, „Postcards from the Gods“