experimental performance 

Sound | Movement | Dramatic Enactment 

ABOUT: The ‘departing minds’ have one goal, not to feel foreign in their own skin, once they gather around others in this rather small environment. And suddenly they sit with these people in the same ‘boat’. Poetic drama about a desperate search for allies in uncertain times.
‘DEPARTING MINDS’ is written by Existence Theatre and involves three to four performers. The work highlights the powerful impact of self-actualisation in unpredictable times to achieve change in self and others. In overlapping poetic monologues the protagonists talk about their existential struggles that are based on the inner and outer dilemmas they face. They try to find each other in the middle of a silent revolution that is felt by some, perhaps ignored by others. While struggling along by themselves at first, they find each other in the middle of a crowd that came together to join forces and find answers to their questions. The performance responds to habituated and embodied expressions that need to be challenged so that adaptation to chaotic, uncertain situations can happen in more flexible ways. But unforeseen situations of change can trigger emotional eruptions, that either manifest internally or externally. The focus is on showing close-up vulnerability as a strength and how someone gets affected by their environment. This means i.e. raising awareness of the effects that micro-racism and stereotypical stigmatisation have on the individual.

The yet largely unexplored universe will probably always remain a mystery to humankind, as much as the human psyche, existence and the question of the meaning of life. Universal existence may be perceived as chaos by a limited human intellect, however can also be seen as perfectly harmonious miracle that surpasses human understanding. 

Feelings and emotions manifest themselves in the body, in thought and
in how we act and react in relation to others. This work raises awareness that in times of global crisis, people suffer differently and to various extent due to their individual history. A process that reflects on the increasingly used term of resilience by approaching it through the concept of connectedness with others. 

The performance tests to which extent a human performer will adapt to chaos before frustration, lack of concentration and loss of physical endurance will set in. An experiment that examines at which point performers‘ ability for healthy emotion regulation starts to be affected. The performance is a simulation of how an individual tries to face chaos while still aiming to create order. It speaks to the different levels of self-driven connectivity to human nature in particular and society at large. 

By using a fully embodied approach the individual performer moves from self-actualisation to the initiative to change, progress and grow in relation to self and other. It is further questioned how long a person does endure a chaotic system without giving up, breaking down or even feeling pushed over the edge. 

Each performer tries to accommodate to the following task:
How can you try to adapt to different environments? Attempt to understand 

and act out the ambivalence of chaos and harmony. It is not the goal to make yourself comfortable but to face and sense an increased level of stress, that needs to be communicated to other performers as well as the audience so that everyone feels emotionally engaged. 

Face this chaotic challenge by confessing your own struggles to the audience, that under usual circumstances may be hidden behind daily functioning in the fear of stigmatisation or critique. 

Aim to demonstrate and enact how stress and traumatic experience may reinforce particular feelings and emotions within an already suffering soul that is influenced by time and space. Embody and express freely what needs to be communicated in the present moment to find, and recognise your allies. 

The space is used in following fashion: 

– three stations (representing different feeling states) around a sound source that symbolises unpredictability and instability
– performers move between those stations according to sound changes and also exchange their protagonistic roles, they explore their text lines in context to the different environments (for example: having a negative thought may be felt/expressed differently in a hopeful place but may be reinforced by a constraining, dark place – but depending on the person) 

Cathedral of Hope: a place to rest, to regain energy, a safe space, a hiding place 
The Cell: captured, trapped, society excluded you, not vaccinated, or not functioning properly (each of the AUFBRUCHSGEISTER (DEPARTING MINDS) has been in such a place/ situation before) 
Observation Spot: in this place you look on and do nothing, you are not happy to be with the others, you consider yourself priviledged, elite, and take the Aufbruchsgeister not serious, think them to be stupid. However you are not brainy enough to comprehend their mission, so you intend to do as little as possible in order to get the most out of it for yourself. 

A modular synth (consisting of separate modules for different functions) is programmed for random chaos and forces the performers to engage in physical actions that are not predictable. This process aims to challenge performers‘ responsiveness and stamina. The arrangement of the composed sound sequences (eight hours in total)and the performers‘ movements are directed by this sound source that is placed in the middle of the space. Unlike a conventional process of sound to guide the performance in planned fashion, the performers react to sound cues that randomly change. This means that each of the performances will be different and only representing a part of the sound sequences. 

In overlapping monologues three performers talk about their existential struggles that are based on the inner and outer dilemmas they face in uncertain times. These protagonists try to find each other in the middle of a silent revolution that is felt by some, ignored by others. While struggling along by themselves at first, they go on a journey and find each other to join forces and answers to their questions. 

Different scenes and texts change variably, acted out by the perfomers while everyone explores the whole text. 

Introduction by Elisabeth M Eitelberger, ART IN PROCESS|Existence Theatre 

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