CONVERSION_1 / A GERMAN-AMERICAN CHOGEOGRAPHY
»Heidelberg certainly had a substantial strategic importance to the US Army and to NATO. Back in 1983 and still in 2003, because it was a very central location to contributing to the „Global War on Terror“, both in Iraq and in Afghanistan.«
»I miss that place so much!«
In summer 2013, the last US-soldiers left Heidelberg. At the same time, the COSTA COMPAGNIE from Hamburg and the Theater and Orchestra Heidelberg began their research in the city. Interviews with citizens were conducted and experiences and memories from almost 70 years of common history were collected. In January 2014, four of the artists traveled to the United States. On their journey, they spoke with soldiers and their families, who were formerly stationed in Heidelberg, about their memories between 1945 and 2013. What traces did the US-Army leave behind in Heidelberg and the people involved in its presence? How did people shape their spaces and how did certain spaces shape its inhabitants? Where do world politics meet individual stories?
The material then formed the basis for the dance performance CONVERSION_1 that took place at the Wormack-Gym at the former US-Hospital in Heidelberg. Contemporary dance, text, video and a sound-composition merged into an atmospheric, interactive visual essay.
„…the piece ’60 seconds‘ belongs – alongside the already premiered and interview based visual space essay CONVERSION_1 by the costa compagnie – to the most remarkable productions of the festival.“
Theater der Zeit, 11/2014
“…the final result – a” Chogeography “- proceeds through geographical and historical spaces, always looking for the experienced memory, which represents the reality for the individual. Can you draw any lessons for the future from the past? Or does history never repeat itself anyway? The Costa Compagnie asks these questions very clearly and shows in many sequences, that ‘the’ historical reality or a documented truth do not exist. The artistic director Felix Meyer-Christian impressively sets the members of the Costa Compagnie into scene. Especially the dance scenes give evidence of great professionalism.”
Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung, 11.07.2014 (see below)
„…The performance all in all offers a breathtaking composition of dance, music and video.“
Feuilleton Ruprecht Heidelberger Studentenzeitung, 26.07.2014
Artistic Director, Text, Performance
Choreography & Dance
Paolo Amerio°, Ana Laura Lozza, Lee Meir, Jascha Viehstädt
Toni Jessen, Elena Nyffeler°
Paul Sebastian Garbers
Dramaturgy & Coordination
Research in the USA
Paolo Amerio°, Felix Meyer-Christian, Elena Nyffeler°, Jonas Plümke
° Members of the Theater and Orchester of Heidelberg
WED | 09. July 2014 | 19.30 h | Premiere
+ July 11/12/13, 2014
FRI | 03 October 2014 | 17 h | Edited Version CONVERSION_1
+ October 04/05, 2014
Gymnasium on the installation of the former US-Hospital
Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung Heidelberg, 07/11/2014
Conversion_1: An era has ended and the theater begins
The Costa Compagnie premiered in the former US-Hospital in Heidelberg-Rohrbach.
by Ingeborg Salomon
Enlightening view of history in an unusual place: the Costa Compagnie explores the German-American relations at the gym of the former U.S. Hospital in Heidelberg-Rohrbach.
Gyms don’t have the best image exactly: dusty, musty and often reminiscent of unloved physical exercises. The gym of the former U.S. Hospital in Heidelberg-Rohrbach is no exception. But theater-makers like to conquer unusual places, so the gym is now turned into a stage. The 200 visitors of the premiere on Wednesday night appeared to be somewhat perplex at first: no chairs were to be found and standing might have become tedious after a while. But remedy approached in the form of (more or less) stable cardboard stools that were carted in per roll container, which had the advantage of enabling the audience to wander through the hall. Sitting and watching was yesterday, today we witness performing. Simultaneously, thoughts and visitors were constantly in motion, according to the ancient Heraclitus saying: “Everything flows”.
With “Conversion_1″ the Costa Compagnie has created a fusion of many different media. The big theme is a historical quest: How did the Americans and the citizens of Heidelberg experience each other? What memories stayed on? Text, video, music and dance merge, along with German and English. This means for the audience member that he needs to focus his or her attention, especially as different videos run concurrently on multiple mobile projection screens.
The videos were shot in Heidelberg and on a research trip to the United States. The final result – a” Chogeography “- proceeds through geographical and historical spaces, always looking for the experienced memory, which represents the reality for the individual.
But how real is this reality in the face of historical facts? Obama’s “Yes, we can” gets equally questioned as the now reducing American and German military presence in Afghanistan is.
Can you draw any lessons for the future from the past? Or does history never repeat itself anyway? The Costa Compagnie asks these questions very clearly and shows in many sequences, that ‘the’ historical reality or a documented truth do not exist. One witness accounts that Condoleeza Rice expected the people of Iraq to welcome American troops as liberators, as the Germans had done in 1945. She was mistaken, as we know today.
The artistic director Felix Meyer-Christian impressively sets the members of the Costa Compagnie into scene. Especially the dance scenes give evidence of great professionalism. And most of the spectators followed the movement instructions quiet willingly: They lay down obediently on the rather cold gymnasium floor to gaze up at drone videos of the American landscape on the ceiling and they streamed into a small cube installed out of white curtains without any protest. A reminder of Abu Ghuraib? Or maybe not? After 110 entertaining minutes the visitors gave a warm applause. In 2015 “Conversion_2” will follow.
FUNDED THROUGH THE FONDS DOPPELPASS BY THE