Oblivia / Yiran Zhao
Concept, text: Oblivia
Artistic direction: Annika Tudeer
Composition, sound design, electronics: Yiran Zhao
Costumes: Tua Helve
Lighting design: Meri Ekola
Performance Dramaturg: Alice Ferl, Anna-Maija Terävä
Team. The theathre collective Oblivia was founded in Helsinki in 2000. Since then, it has made a name for itself internationally among audiences and critics with performances that transcend genre boundaries and confront major themes with extremely minimal theatrical means.
The musical works of Chinese composer Yiran Zhao aim at the interdisciplinary and often incorporate elements of the performative as well as those of the visual arts. Since 2014, they have been interpreted by renowned contemporary music ensembles and have been performed at renowned festivals.
Project. After the large-scale extravaganza of “Kitesh”, “Obsessions” took the audience on opposite paths. Oblivia stand for an ambiguously associative and highly stylized physical theater developed from improvisation. In a previous collaboration with Yiran Zhao, Oblivia had already set themselves the task of expanding their work into music theater. Now, the attempt was added to involve singers and actors of the city theater in their method of improvisation. The guiding principle was to remain that no single person would direct the performance and that all decisions would be made jointly. In a playfully associative way, the focus of “Obsessions” was on the power of desire as the driving force of human behavior. Initially, the participating instrumentalists were to be involved in the theatrical action, but the composition turned out to be so demanding that it demanded a conventional orchestra set-up in the end.
At the successful first performance in Bremen, there was still a clear difference between singers, actors, and Oblivia members in terms of physical performance; at the second version in Wuppertal, a homogeneous ensemble performed on stage, whose different origins were not noticeable. Yran Zhao had further developed her composition, paying particular attention to the fact that less dictation emanated from her on the development of the stage action.
Initial production: Theater Bremen (premiere: 19.02.2022)
Further development: Wuppertal Opera (premiere: 03.12.2022)
Dates: 19., 22., 27.02.2022 (Theater Bremen)
03.12.2022, 14.01.2023 (Wuppertal Opera)
Nerita Pokvytyte, Mariam Murgulia, Timotheus Maas, Karin Enzler,
Matthieu Svetchine, Annika Tudeer, Timo Fredriksson, Alice Ferl (Performance)
Flöte Hélène Freyburger (flute), Gregor Daul (oboe), Anatoli Jagodin (trombone),
Rose Eickelberg (percussion), Reinhold Heise (violin), Marie Daniels (viola)
Musical direction: Yu Sugimoto
Light: Norman Plathe-Narr
Rebecca Murphy (Soprano), Julia Reznik (Mezzosopran), Yisae Choi (Bassbariton),
Alice Ferl, Timo Fredriksson, Matthieu Svetchine, Annika Tudeer (Performance),
Musical direction: Tobias Deutschmann
Trailer for »Obsessions« at Theater Bremen
Photos from the premiere at the Theater Bremen © Jörg Landsberg
Photos from the rehearsal process in January 2021 © Oblivia