Friday, January 14, 2011

What Hapenned? The 80*81 Findings - Project by George Diez & Christopher Roth

George Diez & Christopher Roth called their production a "project" in the promos. This should have been an indication to the audience that this wasn't going to be a "regular" theatre production. But then audiences don't read the fine print very well, do they?

It was in the year 2010 that two researchers came up with the idea that the years 1980 and 1981 represented a major shift in world history, the Great Transition. The play is the representation of the findings of this research that Diez and Roth called 80*81.

This was the premise of what was presented on stage and what was presented on stage was a mind trip. A lot of the audience who couldn't figure out what was going on started walking out. There was one man in the audience who had a loud argument (louder than the performers voices) with an usher saying "Yeh kya bakwaas chal raha hain?"
The project used a variety of methods to present itself - documentary style footage from Paris, North Dakota, Johannesburg and Rishikesh, some acting on stage, Roth & Diez reading out conference style papers, a live crooner, the action on stage being recorded live and projected onto a screen behind. It was an assualt on all ones senses and on ones intelligence and beliefs (what we currently believe are true facts).

The researchers based on some sources that had survived since 80*81, seemed to have got a lot of their facts and data mixed up and reached the "wrong?" conclusions
The directors say that: This unlikely time travel (2081 to 1980*81) is in part about post-modernism and the history of post-modernism in reverse, to get a retro-futuristic narrative out of the plethora and confusion of histories.

Chritopher Roth is no stranger to controvery. His film Baaderwas first trashed when presented at the Berlinale Film Festival, but later highly appreciated even winning the Alfred-Bauer-Preis

It seems that the directors were aiming for something similar with 80*81. Present something so confusing, confounding and gob smacking that after several viewings might showcase itself as postmodern theatre. I hope they manage to achieve this objective, so that they can then publish the answers that the audience still seated until the end was left with - "What the hell, were they trying to convey?"

While everyone drew their own conclusions, nobody seemed convinced that they had reached the right conclusions and we would love for the directors to tell us simpler minds what they hoped to convey and portray.

More Pictures and details on

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