Nora oder Ein Altenheim

Premiere 2019, Sophiensaele Berlin 


A co-production with Gessnerallee Zurich, Freischwimmen and SOPHIENSAELE. (FREISCHWIMMER: Platform for performance and theater. Partners: Brut Vienna, FFT Düsseldorf, Schwankhalle Bremen, Sophiensaele Berlin, Theater Rampe Stuttgart, and Gessnerallee Zurich).

Supported by a residency at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm Frankfurt/Main. Supported by: City of Zurich Culture. 

Concept, Idea, text, dramaturgy, stage, performance: Annina Machaz and Mira Kandathil, Production management: Kathrin Veser, Lighting design: Benny Hauser, Technology: Lukas Sander, Sound design: Stefan Schneider, Camera: Ari Zehnder and Nathalie Kamber, Editing: Janos Menberg, Fire effect: Urs Bruderer, Song production: Sebastian Pagel, Pictures: Myra Wallraff

Project description

We bring Henrik Ibsen's best-known female figure into the present and - in keeping with the demographic changes of our time - transfer her to a retirement home. As in Nora's doll's house, there is no lack of rigid structures and paternalism, but according to the motto "nothing to lose - nothing to expect", a space of possibility opens up: Can one live out here, freed from norms and obligations, is that not what we all long for? Does the reality of the individual only penetrate when the word future disappears from the vocabulary? But being old also opens up new perspectives. Nora experiences "the serenity of one who is free of a long-worn fetter and now moves freely" (Arthur Schopenhauer). Between comforting coziness, the smell of cake and a warm and crackling fireplace, the viewer experiences abrupt changes to human coldness, rejection and the final icy snowstorm. The baby boomer generation, and thus a large part of the European population, is currently arriving at retirement age. Medicine is making progress, we are no longer just getting old, but according to forecasts, even much older. But where to put the old people? Janine Hosp wrote for the daily news: "In 30 years, when every third adult in Switzerland is older than 64, we can no longer afford to underestimate this large part of the population and exclude it from the labor market. We have to think about our attitude to old age. And it concerns us all. Because today's young are tomorrow's old..." By theatrical means we bring our perception of the old generation to the stage. There is no solution to the debate, but our personal ideas on the subject are packed into a rousing stage show. It is difficult to assign the piece to a specific genre; the performance is a mixed form without a stringent narrative. We actually conducted field research and integrated our findings and opinions from actual retirees into the play. Due to the fresh way of making the piece, an unattractive 'marginal topic' is presented from a completely new standpoint.



Kaa Linder SRF:

"Mira Kandathil and Annina Machaz, who call themselves Follow Us, are constantly changing. Following them is not an easy task; if Follow Us was just the title of a performance, then Follow Us is now a kind of artistic, scientific label. They are makers who want to do everything, that sounds immodest, that sounds cocky and is meant seriously. It's nothing new that young actresses want to break free from the structures and ideas associated with their profession. What is new, however, are the means and the ways that Kandathil and Machaz use to achieve this….”

“They blur the boundaries between academic discourse and social media, between the person, role, and social function of actresses. Mira Kandathil and Annina Machaz open up a thinking space in their niche. And in this thinking space, terms such as actress, director, play become skewed…”

“The confusion is perfect and it is program…”

“Because Follow Us is not only the title of her performance and meanwhile her label. The slogan also refers to the call ubiquitous in social media: Follow us. So the two performers feed what they have researched in reality back into the net and continue their research discourse under various hashtags. It all sounds exciting, bizarre in places, and still very confusing…"

Berliner Zeitung: 

"Annina Machaz and Mira Kandathil have become known in relevant circles through actions in social media, for example through the self-confident hashtag #WirSindBesserAlsCastorf."