Skip to main content

Peter Pal Pelbart - Ueinzz Theatre Company

When a patient in the A Casa psychiatric day clinic in Sao Paolo in Brazil suggested that residents form a theatre group, the proposal was to do 'real' theatre, and not theatre 'by loonies for loonies'. With A Casa's backing, the patients brought in professional theatre directors, who treated them, not like patients, but as they would any other actors with such singular ways of walking, talking and expressing themselves.

Nineteen years on, and Ueinzz Theatre Company are an internationally renowned group who operate in very different ways to more conventionally sired companies, as their arrival in Glasgow this week as part of the Arika organisation's latest episode of artistic inquiry, the tellingly named We Can't Live Without Our Lives.

“The group is very excited,” says Peter Pal Pelbart, the philosopher and essayist who has also been a member of Ueinzz since the group's inception, and will take part in a workshop, open rehearsal and performance of Ueinzz's latest show, No Ready Made Men. “Every trip for us is a huge adventure. As well as the prospect of experiencing another country, another language and another audience, sometime this distance provokes strange and let's say funny questions, like should someone bring some water with them, as if we were going to the moon. In their heads as well a lot of the group are already there before they make the trip, so it becomes one of many trips.”

This gives a hint of the aesthetic the company named by one of the original patients and pronounced 'Waynz' have developed over the last two decades, and which can make for an unpredictable experience. Pelbart highlighted this in a lecture he gave in 2011 called Inhuman Polyphony in the Theatre of Madness, and which went on to form part of his book, Cartography of Exhaustion.

In the lecture, given in Berlin, Pelbart relates how, two minutes before a performance was due to begin, one of the cast announced that he wouldn't be taking part in the play as it was the night of his death. In the end, the company member did go on, only to walk across the stage and leave the theatre in full view of the audience. When they came out, they found the performer sitting on the pavement, where Pelbart, who had been playing Hades, king of the underworld, had found him demanding an ambulance as his time had come. In the end he accepted a cheeseburger, but not before many of the departing audience had presumed the exchange to be a pre-arranged stunt that formed part of the show.

“Every performance we do is new,” Pelbart explains. “There are structures in place, but at the same time, many new things happen in performances that we can't predict, whether they are silences, speeches or eruptions.”

Since forming, Ueinzz have met once a week every Wednesday. This was initially under the guidance of directors Sergio Penna and Renato Cohen, who, with nods to influences including Antonin Artaud's Theatre of Cruelty, Joseph Beuys and Samuel Beckett, co-ordinated a long term exploration of James Joyce's novel, Finnegans Wake. Following Cohen's death, the company worked with another director, Cassio Santiago, but now operate without any outside figure.

“We are a theatre group that has complete freedom,” says Pelbart. “We are not famous. We are singular, and that singular life can help us propose things together in a collective atmosphere. There is a lot of power and possibilities within that, so we've created a way of common life and common work, and we've also created a special way of taking care of one another and being able to recognise the fragilities and collapses of each other.

“There is no such thing as those who suffer and those who don't. Everyone has their moments, so we have a way of taking care, not in a paternalistic way, but in a collective way, and rather than exclude them, we put that into the performances. We're not just a theatre group. It's a way of being.”
Arika's Episode 7 takes place at Tramway, Glasgow, April 15-19. Ueinzz Crossings Workshop, April 17, 12 noon-2pm (free, booking required); All Fictions Are Biographical – Ueinzz Context Conversation, April 17, 7.30pm; No Ready Made Men – Open Rehearsal, April 18, 2.30pm; No Ready Made Men – Performance, April 19, 2.30pm. Peter Pal Pelbart will be in conversation in Cartography of Exhaustion, April 19, 7.30pm.
www.arika.org.uk
 
The Herald, April 14th 2015

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ceildh

Tron Theatre, Glasgow Three stars
One kiss is all it takes for everyone to understand each other in Catriona Lexy Campbell and Mairi Sine Campbell’s new play. Linguistically that is, as ancient and modern are brought to rollickingly intimate life by the Gaelic-based Theatre Gu Leor (Theatre Galore) company in the Tron’s Vic Bar en route to an extensive cross-Scotland tour. The set-up is the sort of ghastly tartan-draped corporate function whose perma-grinning hostess Lisa makes bogus claims of preserving culture while blatantly intent on flogging it off to the highest bidder. Think McWetherspoon by way of Trumpageddon.
With the audience ushered into a cabaret table arrangement by Lisa’s step-daughter Eilidh and serenaded by Eddie’s oh-so-couthy accordion playing, the dirt from Harris is unearthed along with a bottle of David Beckham-branded whisky. This causes the corporate shindig to be disrupted on an epic scale by seventeenth century poet Mairi Ruadh. Which is when both the kissing an…

Pauline Knowles - An Obituary

Pauline Knowles – Actress
Born December 16 1967; died October 17 2018
Pauline Knowles, who has died suddenly of a heart attack aged 50, was one of the most powerful stage actresses of her generation. Over more than twenty years, Knowles brought a quiet intensity and fierce intelligence to every part she played. This was the case when she played the barely articulate rural woman in Philip Howard’s original 1995 Traverse Theatre production of David Harrower’s modern classic, Knives in Hens. It was still the case when Knowles gave a ferociously contemporary portrayal of Clytemnestra in This Restless House, Zinnie Harris’ stunning reinvention of Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy directed by Dominic Hill at the Citizens Theatre with the National Theatre of Scotland twenty-one years later.
Knowles occupied both roles with an innate sense of each woman’s everyday ordinariness in ways that made their experiences totally recognisable. As a result, however extreme their actions and however powerful the…

The Duke

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh Four stars
Shon Dale-Jones seems like a very nice chap. You can tell from the way he welcomes each member of the audience into the theatre, shaking them by the hand to a soundtrack of energising 1960s feel-good soul. Such a personable approach helps create a warm and intimate atmosphere, so when he sits at a desk with only a laptop, a volume control and us for company, you can’t help but be charmed from the start of this hour-long foray, both into his own fantastical mind as well as the discursive set of first-world contradictions it lets loose into the world.
It begins with a Royal Worcester porcelain figure of the Duke of Wellington on horseback, which Dale-Jones’ dad bought in 1974 for £750. This would make it worth more than £8,000 in today’s money if his mum hadn’t broken it while dusting. This is just one more thing for Dale-Jones to think about as he attempts to apply a script doctor’s ruthless critique onto a film script he’s been working on for a deca…