title. totally happy
premiere. münchner kammerspiele 2015, germany
„Masses have bright eyes“ – is one oft the famous slogans by Mao Zedong, that articulates the pervasive power oft the mass. Mass is an ultimate evocation and threat at the same time. The concept triggers powerful associations. It touches on traumatic experiences in China and Europe in equal measure, from different perspectives.
The notion of the mass in China appears to the individual like a ghost that is always behind you, watching and observing you - not just since the revolution. But in the years of cultural revolution (and as well during several mass campaigns before) this ghost of the mass has become a real experience of every day live affecting the lives of millions of individuals. Until today the dominant imperative of the ghost of the mass persists.
„I grew up during the craziest period of Mass Movement in China. Everyone, without any exception, was swept away by this Mass torrent. Since childhood, I was told throughout my education to become a tiny little ‘screw’ for the grand revolutional career - only in this way could a life become meaningful. Thus, the ideas of individualism and self were synonym with ‘sin’ and ‘filthy’. Under this heavy inevitable pressure of the Mass, the idea to become a part of the mass actually came from the fear of not being accepted by the mass and the times. Walking away from the mass and becoming a minority indicate a unknown and dark destiny. While growing up and as an adult, the experiences with Mass from my childhood actually increased my willingness to get away from it.” (Tian Gebing)
Looking from this point of view to the notion of the individual in Europe, the difference becomes obvious. The evolution of the individual has become a leading issue and the notion of going your own way is an omnipresent imperative, that you get taught from your childhood on: Cultivate yourself, be as original as possible, avoid in all circumstances to be like everyman. Of course the memory of the traumatic history of 20th century especially during the Nazi era plays as well an enormous role for the contemporary conscience towards mass movements in Germany.
On the other hand it seems that the ghost of the mass is working currently quite efficiently on a kind of global uniformity in the name of capitalism…
On this background it was crucial to involve performers from both cultures, east and west, in order to make possible the exchange and sharing of experiences. After an extensive research period five actors from Muenchner Kammerspiele and five dancers from Paper Tiger started common rehearsals that took place partly in Beijing and Munich. It has been a theatrical research on the moments of ritual, on the creation of qi-chang, on gathering and separation, dealing with the shifting of cultural context and symbols, on violence, on the resisting body and the disciplined body, on dissolution and disillusion – and last but not least on the matter of translation and interpreting. The question was: What memories, misunderstandings, linguistic confusion, and associations arise when european actors encounter Chinese dancers to approach this theme together?
On the base of different kinds of text (fiction, documentary, theory) and of a series of movement research in China and Germany a performance was created that explores and reflects the emotional movement that is emerging from the moments both, where the individual becomes part oft he mass and where it separates from the mass. It is about dissolving, eliminating, frightening, awakening and the feeling of doubt, where a conflict occurs between the need of the individual and the order oft the mass. The project presents a vast field of mass experiences as an accidental encyclopedia in performance. Stories, biographical moments, documents, objects, movements, emotions from different cultural and historical backgrounds have been collected, selected and put in a kind of physical essay that starts with an imaginary journey to historical mass movements and ends with a random vocabulary of the mass.
The project was realised as a coproduction between Paper Tiger Theater Studio, Muenchner Kammespiele and Goethe-Institut China. It involved not only a transcultural cast but as well a chinese-european leading team under the direction of Tian Gebing. The title was taken from a randomly chosen group of young Chinese who were given a survey on the defining feeling of a formative mass experience. Their unanimous answer? “Fei Chang Gao Xing”—totally happy.
導演 Director: 田戈兵 Tian Gebing
舞台設計 Stage Design: 田戈兵 Tian Gebing, Teresa Vergho
服裝設計 Costume Design: Teresa Vergho
聲音設計 Sound Design: 宋昭 zhao, Yao Shuo
燈光設計 Lighting Design: Christian Schweig
戲劇構做 Dramaturg: Christoph Lepschy, Jeroen Versteele
影像 Visual：陳雄偉 Chen Xiongwei
表演者 Performers: Katja Buerkle, 鞏中輝 Gong Zhonghui,古佳妮 Gu Jiani, Marie Jung,連國棟 Lian Guodong, 劉翔捷 Liu Xiangjie, Christian Loeber, Edmund Telgenkaemper,
Kristof Van Boven, 王婭娚 Wang Yanan