Performers on Trial (2005)
Concept: Simone Aughterlony
Performance: Simone Aughterlony, Thomas Wodianka
Music: Marcel Blatti
Light Design: Ursula Degen
Video: Meika Dresenkamp
Artistic Advice: Tine van Aerschot
Photos: Tine van Aerschot
Co-production: Tanzhaus Zürich / Théatre Sévelin Lausanne
There is something dubious about the two characters lucking around the stage, psyching themselves up for the ensuing 'trial' The pressure of performing is felt physically and made visible in the subtle yet loaded communication that passes between them. Even making a good entrance, when the time comes, turns into a disaster scenario of ill-timings, jumbled steps and general miscommunication.
Turning out in their best suits will do little to ease the pressure they have accumulated in preparing their performance for an audience they already assume will pass a guilty verdict. In their defense, they have plenty to say on the subject of performance making - long winded and elaborate excuses which inevitably reveal their questionable working methods and the misdemeanors of their artistic process. Essentially, they approach their dance making as an amateur might, questioning how to read dance language, researching how the identification process functions in abstract form and testing out where exactly does rehearsal stop and the real thing begin.
While the two characters gestures, dialogues and dances are full of humour, the sincerity with which they try to prove themselves worthy of the audience's attention creates a tension that is genuinely discomforting.