The Play is a theatre score. It documents and founds a fictive institution. It is performed in different formats for spectators and a publication. The Play (Theater) stages reading spectators. They are the only protagonists of the performance. A subtle dramaturgy of light, sound, and video structures their reading of ‘The Play’ and creates ever new conditions for their observation of each other. The Play (Dialogue) stages recorded interpretations of ‘The Play’. The visitors of the video installation encounter for example a legal commentary and an actress’s lecture. The Play (Intervention) weaves together experiences of reading, watching and listening. Equipped with headphones, mp3 players and the text, participants merge into the life of a public square. They follow traces of an imagined society, keep missing it, and become its genuine protagonists.
“If the sun were to expire this very moment, we would have 8 minutes and 31 seconds before the last ray of light reached the earth. The artist duo Herbordt/Mohren uses this apocalyptic perspective for a performative universal inventory. Those assumed 8 minutes and 31 seconds now allow us to look at ‘all that I have’ over and over again in a different context and possibly compose alternative futures as a result. In their current project series ‘The Play’, a one-page document serves as the basis for every performance.
Distributed to all guests of the show, ‘The Play’ relies on the community of the readers and transforms them over and over again, for perpetually new 8 minutes and 31 seconds into creators of relationships, manufacturers of contexts, temporary co-founders of a fictive institution. At the heart of the performance lies the ‘promise of a different social context, the model of an institution which integrates that which has been excluded, and yet must remain temporary, in order not to become authoritarian itself’. The two-part adaptation of their project as a publication as well as for audiences was developed by Herbordt/Mohren specifically for Mousonturm.” (Marcus Dross)
Stuttgart Theater Award 2013
From the jury’s statement: “We have come to see ‘The Play (Intervention)’ of the artist duo Herbordt/Mohren. The setting, which we only enter in small groups and hesitantly, is the stage itself. ‘Ah,’ we think, ‘we know what’s going on’: The audience is meant to mingle with the actors – or the other way round. It is all about contact, but contact with whom or what? First, we establish contact with the artist couple itself; they equip us with mp3 players, give us technical advice and, with friendly smiles, send us onstage. A rather large publication, itself titled ‘The Play, is handed out in convenient canvas bags as additional requisite, and will become pre-script and accompanying text to that which is to follow. And, while we are browsing through ‘The Play’, listening to sounds, information and suggestions for actions from our headphones, the age-old phenomenon called ‘theater’ is set into motion in a mysterious way. It evaporates between and among the participants, as a mere insinuation, only to establish, to install, to affiliate itself again – or, for the very first time. The conditions under which all this is happening are dramatic: 8 minutes and 31 seconds of sunlight would remain to us, if the sun were to expire now, at this very moment. 8 minutes and 31 seconds of sunlight for the last time – to read, to watch and to listen, and, for a moment, to newly construct, to constitute, a world, a society, a theater play, out of a perception (maybe only a presumed one) into the unexplored space of an ‘undetermined future’.”
‘The Play’ by Herbordt/Mohren is a multipart investigation of what we mean by theater, or what we want to mean by theater. It aims at the traditional image, the socially sanctioned idea of the historically rooted institution of playing on a stage. Melanie Mohren and Bernhard Herbordt take the pigeonhole called ‘theater’ apart, and allow the audience to construct their own play. ‘The Play (Intervention)’ has just been performed for two days at Mannheim’s Paradeplatz, as part of the festival ‘Wunder der Prärie’. It searches its own playground in the public space. Hidden among passersby and their ways through the city the theater visitor dives into city life for 45 minutes, equipped with headphones and a copy of ‘The Play’. … In five minutely timed episodes of 8 minutes and 31 seconds Herbordt/Mohren send the audience straight to the roots of theater, and put the individual spectator at its center. (Mannheimer Morgen, Sep 21, 2013).
Concept, text, stage direction, sound: Melanie Mohren and Bernhard Herbordt. Voice: Katharina Zoffmann. Space design: Leonie Mohr and Hannes Hartmann. Light/programming: Roman Scheffner. Graphic design: Demian Bern. Assistance and copy-editing: Viola van Beek. Assistance and production assistance: Juliane Beck and Sabrina Glas.
‘The Play’ is a production by Herbordt/Mohren, supported by the the State Association of Independent Theaters Baden-Württemberg e. V., with funds from the Ministry of Science, Research and Art Baden-Württemberg, and the Fonds Darstellende Künste e. V., with the friendly support of Akademie Schloss Solitude, Künstlerhaus Stuttgart and the Young Academy at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the National Academy of Natural Sciences Leopoldina.
Concept, text, direction, sound: Melanie Mohren and Bernhard Herbordt. Voice: Katharina Zoffmann, Melanie Mohren and Bernhard Herbordt. Performance: Katharina Zoffmann. Graphic design: Demian Bern. Assistance and copy-editing: Viola van Beek. Assistance and production assistance: Juliane Beck and Sabrina Glas.
‘The Play (Intervention)’ at Tanzpanorama 2012 / Rough Cuts Festival was supported by the Artist-in-Residence program of Tanzlabor_21 / Tanzbasis Frankfurt_Rhein_Main and by the NPN-Gastspielförderung. With special thanks to the Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Andreas Mihan and Norbert Mohr.
Concept, text, direction, sound, video: Melanie Mohren and Bernhard Herbordt. With: Katharina Zoffmann and Emanuel V. Towfigh. Technics, programming: Roman Scheffner. Graphic design: Demian Bern. Assistance and copy-editing: Viola van Beek.
‘The Play’ is a production by Herbordt/Mohren, supported by the State Association of Independent Theaters Baden-Württemberg e.V., with funds from the Ministry of Science, Research and Art Baden-Württemberg, and the Fonds Darstellende Künste e.V., with the friendly support of the Akademie Schloss Solitude, Künstlerhaus Stuttgart and the Young Academy at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the National Academy of Natural Sciences Leopoldina.