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Total multicultural slammer in the Archa Theatre
Press Release from August 8, 2001

International multimedia project Total Masala Slammer - Heartbreak No 5 starts the European tour on August 17 in the Archa Theatre

Total Masala Slammer
Heartbreak No 5

Michael Laub/Remote Control Productions, Tilburg-New York

August 17, 18, and 19, 2001 at 8:00 pm at the Archa Theatre

A European-American-Indian multimedia theatre project combining dance, theatre, video-projection, art installations and music. A visual and movement confrontation of Bollywood, J. W. Goethe, and traditional Indian art of Kathak in a story of romantic love.

In his work, famous Belgian theatre director Michael Laub is fascinated by two extremes of Indian culture: on one side, the purity of classical Indian dance and art Kathak; on the other hand, the triviality of soap operas and kitschy TV series produced by "Bollywood" (the Indian version of American Hollywood). "Bollywood" soap operas are full of emotions of excitement- laughter, weeping, horror … When mixed they become a unique mixture - "masala". Michael Laub presents a story of romantic love which moves to the furthest edge of this genre. It is a confrontation of the text of J. W. Goethe and the typical "Bollywood" soap opera. Here, one can also find motives that are typical of today's Indian movies - sex and violence portrayed in their fascinating kitsch beauty. Total Masala Slammer combines tragedy and triviality, fiction and realism, dance and play, as well as elements of music and art.
          The project combines several story lines: a "Bollywood" soap opera written by Indian film script-writer Anjum Rajabali; a dance piece which combines the most rhytmical and sensual Indian dance Kathak, choreographed by two Indian dance masters with the art of modern European movement. The text of the performance is based on the results of improvisations of company members on topic of unrequited love, the texts of J. W. Goethe´s "The Sorrows of Young Werther", as well as the texts of classical Indian literature. A videoproject of popular Indian dancers and singers, together with images of the trash heaps found in the suburbs of Mumbai, will also be projected during the production. Western music blends with the traditional songs of the Indian Kathak Master evoking a mood of Hindi movies, Indian ragas and live music played on the tabla. Original costumes were prepared for this project, taking on elements from the traditional Kathak as well as a Western design. One of the authors of the project is Bhanu Athaiya who received an Oscar for the costumes in the film "Ghandi". Choreography was created by famous American choreographer Dennis O´Connor, Sunayana Hazarilal and Kumudini Lakhia.
          The project has been in preparation since 1999, in various cities such as Berlin, New York and Indian Mumbai. Its premier performance was preceeded by careful preparations with Indian artists, many rehearsals, and auditions at various European and Indian art schools. The piece involves dancers and performers from America, Europe and India. The World premier will take place in Berlin in the Hebbel-Theater on August 10th, 2001. The Prague performances begin the European tour prior to its performances in Zürich, Aarhus and Venice.

Concept, direction: Michael Laub

Music: Larry Steinbachek, Atul Desai, Sunayana Hazarilal, Kumudini Lakhia
Light: Nigel Edwards
Choreography: Dennis O'Connor, Sunayana Hazarilal, Kumudini Lakhia, Michael Laub and company
Text: Michael Laub, the company and excerpts from J. W. Goethe "Die Leiden des jungen Werther"
Soap Opera Script: Anju Makhija, Kavita Murker,
Set Design: Jean BaptisteTrystram, Michael Laub, Paresh Daru
Costumes: Bhanu Athaiya, Kris Kremberg
Kathak Costumes: Sunayana Hazarilal, Kumudini Lakhia

Costumes Coordination: Eva Marie Helfrich
Artistic Consultant India: Amrit Gangar
Artistic Consultant: Marina Abramovic

with: Ashok Balakrishnan, Lara Benusis, Shrutee Butle, Priti Chaudhary, Richa Chinoy, Anuskaa Dantur, Astrid Endruweit, Hildigunn Eydfinsdottir, Biru Bireshwar Gautam, Pradeesh Kizhakkan, Dennis O'Connor, Vinay Peshave, Anar Shah, Stephanie Weyman, Greg Zuccolo

Tabla Player: Nakul Mishra

Premiere: 10 August 2001 Hebbel-Theater, Berlin

Co-Production: Hebbel-Theater, Berlin - Rotterdamse Schouwburg - Arts International, New York - Zuercher Theater Spektakel - Szene Salzburg - Remote Control Productions, Tilburg-New York

With funding from Fonds voor de Podiumskunsten, Den Haag, Hauptstadtkulturfonds der Bundesrepublik Deutschland and Auswärtiges Amt
Prague preformances are supported by the Capital of Prague.
Media partners: The Prague Post, Houser, Nový Prostor

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