The Parthenon Metopes is an elaborate game of art and reality that dares to ask mankind’s ultimate questions: where do we come from, where are we going? And what power/force determines our lives? Again it proves true what Alraune says to the Roman conqueror Varus in Kleist‘s «Hermannsschlacht» when he and his army are caught in the swamps of Teutoburg forest– being asked where he was, Varus answers: «Lodged fast between nothing and nothing.» The enigma of life cannot be solved.
It is the moment of sheer horror, the moment between life and death: an accident occurred or rather: an incident. What really happened remains in the dark. A car accident, a violent attack, a suicide attempt, a heart attack – we don’t know. And we shall not find out. We only see the victim lying on the ground. A human in pain. Seconds turn into an eternity before the ambulance eventually arrives, before professional rescue commences. They are bound to fail. “Because theatre, like life, always acts on the assumption of tragedy,” says Romeo Castellucci. Especially when higher powers are involved, as soon becomes clear. The old man had not simply collapsed, the car had not just accidentally driven into the crowd. But this part of the story is not to be told. The only thing we learn is this: a Sphinx has posed a riddle, a riddle about life and death. And this human being, lying on the ground, mortally wounded or mortally ill, might survive if the riddle is answered solved …
Romeo Castellucci‘s enigmatic scenic installation brings together philosophical ideas of the ancient world and modern hyperrealism. The audience finds itself in a cold and empty hall and like in an antique frieze, one emergency situation follows the other, six altogether. Every single incident is accompanied by a new riddle, projected onto the wall of the building.
This performance gains its tension and intensity not only from its content, but also from its special form, the combination of highly artificial theatre aesthetics and the very real world of the emergency services. There will be real ambulances, real paramedics from Basel who come to save the victims but these victims are all actors. The paramedics are all people who are more than familiar with those dramatic moments when they wrestle a try to pluck a victims from the jaws of death under the pitiless eyes of a sphinx.
- Courtesy of the artist
- Courtesy of the artist