Teatr Rozmaitosci Poland
In 1997, a new star appeared in the theater sky over Poland: Grzegorz Jarzyna. Born in 1968, he became an overnight sensation in the Polish theater scene with his directorial debut "Tropenkoller," which is based on two works by Stanislaw Witkiewicz. He received all of the country's important theater awards in a very short time, and in 1998 he became artistic director of the renowned Teatr Rozmaitosci in Warsaw (today the theater is called "TR Warszawa"). As the representative of his generation of young Polish artists who are no longer forced to work their way past the censors by using ambiguity, the distinguishing characteristics of Jarzyna's theater language are clarity, directness and a magical intensity. The unfathomable films of Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino have an influence on his productions.
Katarzyna Kozyra Poland
Katarzyna Kozyra was born in Warsaw, and she studied visual art there until 1993. Since that time, her works have been shown in solo or group exhibitions all across Europe. In 1991, her video project "Men's Bathhouse" was performed in the Polish Pavilion at the Biennale in Venice.
Teatr Cinema Poland
Teatr Cinema was founded in 1992 by Zbigniew Szumski. Since that time, the company has worked on pieces as "a revolt of the imagination against the routine of reality." The style of Teatr Cinema is characterized by a vibrant poetry between normality and abstraction, inspired by paintings by René Magritte, texts by Samuel Beckett, and art from the Dadaists. Teatr Cinema is considered to be one of the most internationally renowned representatives of the theater scene in Poland.
Jerzy Lukosz, one of the best known contemporary authors and playwrights in Poland, had this to say about the work of Teatr Cinema: "Someone once said that ninety-nine percent of everything that calls itself art is not art at all. If I can say something with certainty, then it is this: The work of Teatr Cinema is part of that one percent the skeptics have reserved for art. Kantor and Marthaler are in good company here."
Komuna Otwock Poland
The performance group Komuna Otwock, named after a suburb of Warsaw, has been exploring the possibilities and impossibilities of the revolution for the last 15 years. Starting with theoretical-political questions, Komuna Otwock offers artistic answers, answers that focus on people. For each respective theme, the group always develops a corresponding stage language and adaptation for the stage. Various approaches are integrated into the artistic performance during the work process - the approaches range from acting to choreographed images to the use of visual media.
"Komuna Otwock proves that a theater performance can have a clear message, even without banality and crude symbolism. (...) here is a group finally that knows what it wants to express, and it is also capable of doing it in an outstanding fashion." (Didaskalia, March 2002)
Big Art Group USA
The Texan Caden Manson founded the Big Art Group in 1999 with the intention of breaking through the limitations of theater. Using a combination of film, television and performance, he examines how images are used for entertainment, how the audience experiences an image, where the crack between the surface and the interior life runs, and how truth is fabricated. "Flicker" was developed in January 2002 at the legendary Performance Space 122 in New York and shown at SPIELART 03 one year later.
Denis Marleau/ Theatre UBU Canada
Along with Robert Lepage, Denis Marleau is considered to be one of the most important theatermakers in Canada. Both of them are from Quebec, whose culture is influenced by both Europe and the United States. The "American" preference for technological finesse and the "European" choice of themes are what make their works so special. Denis Marleau amazed audiences with the rarely performed play "The Blind" by the Belgian Maurice Maeterlinck - it is a "technological phantasmagoria." The theatrical installation is the result of his work as an "artist in residence" at the Musée d'Art Contemporain in Montreal; the museum grants this position on a regular basis to artists with the understanding that they create an independent work using a combination of equal elements of theater and the visual arts.
Hotel Modern Netherlands
The theater collective Hotel Modern, founded in 1996, consists of the actors Pauline Kalker and Arlène Hoornweg, the performer Herman Helle, and the musician Arthur Sauer. They combine theater with puppet theater and other art forms in their productions. The company causes a type of "controlled chaos" on the stage, where text, properties, music and acting all make equal contributions to telling a story.
Dood Paard Netherlands
For the last ten years, the Dood Paard company has been interpreting works by Aischylos, Euripides, Ovid, Shakespeare, Beckett, Albee, Handke, Rijnders, and many other authors. Dood Paard's projects are created during a collective process. Theatrical possibilities are reinvented and explored until their limits are reached. The unity of time and space are taken literally - the performances are unique, ambiguous, unpredictable events, which are created during the performance. The works of Dood Paard possess lightness and an overwhelming energy, which erupts into razor-sharp humor and ironic bitterness.
Jewgenij Grischkowez Russia
Jewgenij Grischkowez was born in Siberia in 1967. He served his military duty with the Soviet navy in the Pacific Ocean, and afterwards he studied philology at the "Technical University Kusbass" (Kursk coal fields), where he founded the "Loge" theater in 1990. He developed more than twenty original productions with this ensemble; his troupe developed the pieces collectively from conversations and improvisations. 1998 saw the creation of his piece "How I Ate a Dog," which he performs himself - he enjoyed a huge success with this piece in Moscow. The following year he presented his new piece, "Simultaneously."
Personally, Grischkowez rejects such terms as director, author or actor. He chose the term "new sentimentalist" to describe himself. Since the 2000/2001 season started, he has performed his pieces as a permanent guest at the "School of the Contemporary Play" theater. That same year he received the Russian "Anti-Booker Literature Award" for drama. In 2000, the jury of the national theater festival "The Golden Mask" presented him with the Innovation Award, and the Critics Jury presented him with the Audience Award for that theater season.
Jan Lauwers/ Needcompany Belgium
Jan Lauwers, born in 1957 in Antwerpen, studied painting in Ghent and founded the Epigonen Ensemble in Brussels in 1979. Needcompany was founded from this ensemble in 1987. Since then the ensemble has had guest performances at all of the well-known theater festivals and on all of the well-known theater stages in Europe.
Jan Lauwers already was a member of the avant-garde in Flanders in the early 1980s, which unleashed a radical change in the arts. Lauwers' background as a visual artist had a huge influence on the way he approaches things in the theater, and resulted in an extremely individual and in many ways pioneering theatrical method of expression, which examines theater and its meaning. In addition to Jan Lauwers, Grace Ellen Barkey and Viviane De Muynck should be mentioned as key figures in this artists' collective.
Forced Entertainment Great Britain
Forced Entertainment was founded in 1984. Since then the group has been working more or less in the same formation, developing themes and expressive forms during the working process. Using fragmentary remembrances, ideas and set pieces from old and new stories, they create masterful, comprehensive compositions by means of ingenious timing.
The story of SPIELART is to a large degree also the story of Forced Entertainment, which celebrated their first guest performance at a German festival with their work "Speak Bitterness" at the SPIELART festival in 1997. Since then, SPIELART has coproduced every important new creation by Forced Entertainment, such as the 24-hour performance "Who can sing a song to unfrighten me?" in 1999, which was performed throughout Europe at all of the important festivals; the piece "First Night" in 2001, which split the audience into two camps of those who were shocked and those were captivated; and "Bloody Mess" in 2003, the preliminary result of a work-in-progress that was completed in 2004 for the twentieth anniversary of Forced Entertainment.
"One of the most influential new British theater companies of the last twenty years." The Guardian, London
Cornelie Müller Germany
Cornelie Müller, music- and theatermaker and confidential sound adviser, works as a freelance director and producer in the borderland between music and theater. Essential components of her work process involve working closely with actors as well as musicians, structuring the musical and scenic developments into an order of events, and the visual arrangement of the space. Numerous works have been created that allow the spaces to produce sounds and that make music visible. For years now she has been dealing with folk music and regional identities in the field of tension of today's realities.
Compagnie Dakar Netherlands
Hans Man In't Veld was one of the founders of the legendary Werkteater, and later on, he became the director of Kampnagel in Hamburg. He currently teaches the director's class and is a lecturer at the School of Theater in Amsterdam. Guido Kleene, founder of the Compagnie Dakar, was one of his students, and they developed the DAKAR Trilogy together.
Jan Ritsema/Bojana Cvejic Netherlands/Serbia-Montenegro
The actor and dancer Jan Ritsema and the actress and musicologist Bojana Cvejic travel along the border between representation and "non-performance" in their works. They examine primarily the meaning of the "subject being depicted," its expressive form, the immediate presence in relation to the "representation," and the exchange between the arts.
"Today Ulysses" is the third station of fundamental research in theater, which Jan Ritsema started developing at Kaaitheater in Brussels. The production, which was performed at SPIELART in 2001, presents for discussion the subject of how one can deal with the loss of artistic distance. The audience was invited to move about in a landscape of boundless possibilities.
In 2003 Ritsema and Cvejic were guest performers at SPIELART once again with their piece "Pipelines, a construction," a phenomenon involving drawing borders and a constantly changing scenario of interests: If you can do something that is valuable to someone else, you should be able to sell it to them, and if other people have something that is valuable to you, you should be able to buy it ...
Julius Deutschbauer, born in 1961 in Klagenfurt and founder of the "Library of Unwritten Books," and Gerhard Spring, born in 1962 in Scheibbs (Lower Austria), are artists living in Vienna. They have been working as the duo "Deutschbauer/Spring" since 2000. Their most recent exhibition and event projects include the pieces "Entsetzliche Malerei" ("Terrible Paintings") (Galerie Steinek, Vienna); "Urlaubs- und Abenteuerreisen von Linz bis Liverpool" ("Vacations and Adventure Trips from Linz to Liverpool") (Galerie Halle, Linz); and also "Die zwei Räuber" ("The Two Thieves"), Theaterkaraoke, Schillertage 2003, Mannheim.
Walid Ra'ad/ The Atlas Group Lebanon/USA
Walid Ra'ad was born in 1967 in Lebanon. His works include text analysis, video, performance and photographic projects. His themes center on the civil wars in Lebanon. He also founded and directs the "Atlas Group," a research institution in Beirut that documents contemporary life in Lebanon. In 2002, Walid Ra'ad participated in the Documenta 2002 in Kassel. He is an assistant professor of media and cultural studies at Queens College, The City University of New York.
Seven Sisters Group Great Britain
Susanne Thomas founded her company "Seven Sisters" in 1994. Her project "Trainstation" was not only a hit in the British dance scene, it was also very popular with the authorities at train stations, because it put the travelers at the train stations where it was performed in an extremely good mood. A train station as the focal point is transformed into a space that is temporarily infiltrated by humor, tolerance and compassion.
Stefan Kaegi/Hygiene Heute Germany
Stefan Kaegi is director, radio play author and audio artist. He was born in 1972 in Solothurn (Switzerland), and he studied art in Zurich and applied theater sciences in Giessen, Germany. His radio plays "Kugler Der Fall" ("Kugler - The Case") and "Warum Jodie Foster kein Wasser will" ("Why Jodie Foster Doesn't Want Any Water") were broadcast by various radio stations in Germany and Switzerland. He produced the live radio play "Glühkäferkomplott" ("The Firefly Conspiracy") for National Swiss Radio and Intermedium2 at the ZKM Karlsruhe. His Argentinean production "Torero Portero" was a guest performance at the Theater der Welt festival in 2002 and traveled to Berlin, Frankfurt und Slovenia for additional performances before returning home in 2003. He staged a bus trip through slums in Brazil - the piece was entitled "Matraca Catraca." In Buenos Aires, he produced the piece "Sentate, a zoostituto" with five pet owners for Teatro Sarmiento. In Graz, he staged "Dolly Grip Graz": acoustically manipulated motorcycles drove through the World Cultural Heritage City. He produced the treasure hunt chase "Skrót. Krakow Files" for the Goethe Institute in Krakow.
In 1998 he founded with Bernd Ernst the label "Hygiene Heute," in order to bring breakdowns and theatrical "ready-mades" into the theater. And so the two of them welcomed sixty "specialists" to the "Conference of Illegal Public Transportation Riders" at Kampnagel. The audio tour "Kanal Kirchner" turned the courtyards of Frankfurt, Giessen and Munich into walk-in theater sets. In June 2001, over seventy pure-bred diplomats convened in Vienna under the title "Europe dances. The Forty-eight-hour Guinea Pig Congress." In Mannheim 100,000 ants gathered to form the project "State. A Terrarium" in the Exit_Zeitraum gallery. Most recently, Hygiene Heute produced the project "Physics" with two particle physicists and their experiments for Tanzquartier Wien. "Physics" was performed in Frankfurt, Rotterdam and Berlin in 2003.
Together with Helgard Haug and Daniel Wetzel, Stefan Kaegi directed four 80-year-old women in the project "Kreuzworträtsel Boxenstopp" ("Crossword Puzzle Box Stop) at Künstlerhaus Mosonturm in Frankfurt; they directed five trigger-happy young men in the project "Shooting Bourbaki" for Luzerner Theater (which received the Impulse Award); they directed "Sonde Hannover" ("Probe Hannover"), a project in downtown Hannover viewed through 40 binoculars from the eleventh floor of a building; they directed five experts for the Middle European method of killing in "Deadline" for Schauspielhaus in Hamburg (which was invited to the Berliner Theatertreffen); and they directed trial experts in "Zeugen! Ein Strafkammerspiel" ("Witnesses! An Intimate Play in Criminal Court") for Hebbel-am-Ufer-Theater in Berlin and Schauspiel Hannover. Under the label "Rimini Protokoll," Ernst/Haug/Kaegi/Wetzel, together with 200 citizens of the then-capital city of Germany, Bonn, performed a live copy of an entire legislative session of the German parliament for Theater der Welt 2002. The project was entitled "Deutschland 2" ("Germany 2").
"Shooting Bourbaki" received the Impulse Award in 2002 as the best German-language independent theater production and was in the theater program of expo.02. In addition to "Deadline," "Rimini-Protokoll" was invited to participate in the Berliner Theatertreffen in 2004 and "Wallenstein" in 2006.
Their latest piece, "Uraufführung: Der Besuch der alten Dame" ("World Premiere. The Visit"), premiered at Schauspielhaus Zurich.
Johan Lorbeer Germany
In past years, the performer Johan Lorbeer has made a name for himself for the most part with his spectacular "still life" performances, which are frequently performed in public spaces. His most famous works are "Proletarian Mural," "Rothko Fax," "In Honor of My Mother" and "Office."
Miriam Reeders Netherlands
Miriam Reeders studied at the Academy of Visual Arts in Maastricht and at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam. Since 1999, she has been working on various forms of performance, ranging from monologues with music to video experiments to multimedia events. The foundation for her live animations are her own drawings: Comic-like images are lined up and run under a film camera and then projected onto a screen.