The word “reality” is replaced by “realities” in the play description written by the team. There is no longer just one. More or less assuming that it is hopeless or perhaps simply no longer a question of separating the true from the false in the conventional way, of recognising the idea of multiple realities.
Each person should experience their own piece in this “immersive” music theatre. Everyone should be able to move freely through the theatre in a space that is both stage and auditorium at the same time, thus eliminating their conventional separation.
Everyone should drift between different interpretations of the plot, none of which is more correct than the other.
Immersion, however, proves to be a difficult exercise when it comes to musical theatre with highly complex music and a correspondingly traditional orchestral set-up. The rehearsal in Gelsenkirchen was also aimed at solving such problems. The spaces in the three participating theatres are different. Magdalena Emmerig has created flexible room elements that can be adapted to the respective circumstances. The opera directors and technical departments of all the theatres involved had travelled to Gelsenkirchen. For them, Gelsenkirchen also became a kind of test case. Would it be possible to find solutions here that would bring everything under one roof for them too?
Screens dominate our lives for years. Corona has multiplied the trend: Zoom conferences have taken the place of city trips or even travel, Netflix has replaced theatre visits, virtual sex in 3D has replaced real contact tracing. Theatre is a space of physicality. Screens will also define “Freedom Collective” – large ones in the auditorium, small ones on the mobile phones involved in the performance. But visitors will become co-actors. They will not only have to move around the space, but will also be challenged to perform their own “physical” actions on their mobile phones and ultimately experience a split world of feeds (also on a musical level) and live events.
The sound technology involved – the famous SWR experimental studio, without which the works of Luigi Nono, among others, would not have been possible – will probably not always make it possible to recognise which sound is coming from where. All the more, however, it seems to be about the tension between what is mediated and what is experienced as “live”.
So aren’t there perhaps criteria by which we can filter the jumble of divergent “experiences of reality”?