The Sweatlodge

The Sweatlodge

Man Act, Cardiff
Motion theatre

Thursday 9 Nov. // 07:30 – 08:45 p.m.

    German premier

    Out of the depth of the room emerge the men, twelve in numbers, one after the other. A faint light and thick clouds of fog cover the room full of obscure, sinister promises. Deliberate deceleration, steadfast pushing ahead and tense attention to the soft tango, foxtrot and English waltz music sketch an invisible, but omnipresent stark regularity.

    Then, later, sweeps a wave of masculinity across the stage so that one does not know whether one is coming or going. Like little boys climb the men into the suits of their fathers and then start playing those games of masculinity, the games of heroes and warriors, of cowboys and Indians. Thus a world develops that glorifies violence; the world of James Bond. In this world the suit emerges as a cult analogy to masculinity, that expresses itself through vociferous volume as well as artificial humour.

    In the Indian culture means the term »sweatlodge« (literally translated: wigwam of sweat) a room in which special initiation or cleaning rites were carried out. A man’s world is rough, ruthless, brutal and violent, whether in a board room, on the sports field, in a leatherneck unit or just during the so-called everyday life. What is civilisation when most of that, which is known as civilised human culture, is carried out on the basis of cruellest barbarism, and that in the past as well as in the present?

    A boy on the threshold of manhood is introduced in the world of the adults, who present their drilled-in principles and practices like magical customs. Is there at all a hope to evade them? To question the masculinity of men is to weaken them? Why, then, is it so much more disturbing to see two men dancing with each other than to see them locked in mortal combat?

    The Compagnie Man Act is one of the most important and successful British theatre groups. It was founded in 1985 by Phillip Mackenzie and Simon Thorne and makes its home in Wales. Several of their productions can be considered more of a elocutionary theatre. In »The Sweatlodge« no talking takes place and neither is there any dancing as we know it. The production does away with the genres and portrays an idiosyncratic symbiosis of cult theatre and rock concert. Without any doubts does »The Sweatlodge« belong to the most captivating productions of contemporary European theatre, even though it certainly provokes protest in its pitiless conclusion. Man Act performs for the first time in the new German federal provinces.

    Im Anschluss an die Vorstellung findet ein Publikumsgespräch statt.
    Moderation: Klemens Wannenmacher, Künstlerischer Leiter Produktionshaus FACT, Rotterdam

    Produziert von: Walter Heun / Phillip Mackenzie / Hans deVisser
    Produktion: Joint Adventures, München, Koproduktion: Zürcher Theater Spektakel / Vienna Acts / K.I.T. Copenhagen International Theatre, unterstützt von: The British Council / Stadt München / Stadt Wien

    Das Gastspiel erfolgt mit freundlicher Unterstützung durch The British Council.

    Conception, staging and direction: Philipp Mackenzie, Simon Thorne

    Music and arrangements: Simon Thorne

    Lighting: Trevor Turton

    Sound: Steve Wright

    Cast: Toni Abbatista, Mike Ashcroft, Steve Fischer, Robert Gardner, Lee Powell, Marc Rees, Pedro Sandiford, Toby Sawyer, Gerald Tyler, Simon Thorne, Lee Warburton, James Wilson

    Musicians: Spontaneous Tongue Band: Paul Mumford (bass guitar), Alfredo Genovesi (electric guitar), Andrew Keep (drums)

    Archive 1995

    5th Festival Year