Florentina Holzinger (AT/NL)
A Divine Comedy
Wry comedy about heaven and hell in the here and now
'One of the shittiest performances I have ever seen,' said a critic after the premiere of A Divine Comedy by Austrian dance maker Florentina Holzinger. In the literal sense of the word, that is, because he gave the production no less than four and a half stars (out of five).
Run time 120 minutes
Location Internationaal Theater Amsterdam
A Divine Comedy
Holzinger, the 'superstar of contemporary European dance', makes ruthless dance theatre with the necessary shock effects. The staging is 'in your face' and always provocative. If necessary, the performers – dress code: nude – let bodily substances flow. Literally everything is done to deconstruct gender relations and the representation of the female body in the media and in art. Or, to put it bluntly, to crush it. Holzinger mixes trash, live masturbation, bloody slasher movies, slapstick, and silly conjuring acts. With a sublime sense of irony, she hops and jumps through a dizzying array of quotes and symbols from the history of (dance) art.
In A Divine Comedy, the notorious choreographer catapults the Italian poet Dante Alighieri's work of the same name into the present, thus creating heaven and hell in the here and now. She is guided by the life journey of a dancer, who goes to great lengths to stay vital and healthy, aware of her own mortality. All this in an eternal competitive struggle, but also - at times - in hopeful connection.
Perhaps even aimed at bringing out the best in humanity, despite all its shortcomings, urges and whims. By putting modern life on the cutting table, A Divine Comedy takes a stab at a potential spirituality for the 21st century.
The cast of twenty performers are of all ages, come from totally different backgrounds, and master a variety of physical, musical and athletic disciplines. Get ready for drilling dance teachers, motor crossers, and last but not least the octogenarian dancer Beatrice Cordua (nicknamed 'the naked ballerina'). These striking characters join forces in an exploration of life and death, heaven and hell – and everything in between – that is as baffling as it is hilarious.
concept and direction Florentina Holzinger
performance and choreography Foxxy Angel, Linda Blomqvist, Renée Copraij, Beatrice Cordua, Paige A. Flash, Alba Gentili-Tedeschi, Noam Gorbat, Ria Higler, Florentina Holzinger, Susanne Jablonski, Josephine, Steffi Laier, Annina Machaz, Courtney May Robertson, Audrey Merilus, Xana Novais, Maja Osojnik, Bärbel Schwarz, Miranda van Kuilenburg, Anna Tierney, Linnéa Tullius, Isabelle Volckaert
music direction and composition Maja Osojnik
scenography Nikola Knežević
dramaturgy Renée Copraij, Sara Ostertag
real choreography Ty Boomershine
light design Anne Meeussen, Max Kraußmüller
sound design Stefan Schneider
video design Noam Gorbat
technical direction Anne Meeussen, Stephan Werner
stage assistance Camilla Smolders, Nicole Marianna Wytyczak
outside eye Fernando Belfiore
music coach Almut Lustig stunt
coach Leo Plank (Haeger Stunt & Wireworks), Ran Braun (Stunt Factory)
hurdles coach Valerie Kleiser
taxidermy coach Lydia Mäder
wood coach Josef Laier
management and international distribution Something Great
executive production management Ricardo Frayha
a commission by Ruhrtriennale
produced by Something Great, Spirit, Ruhrtriennale and Staatstheater Kassel
in co-production with Tanzquartier Wien, Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg -Platz Berlin, deSingel, Theater Freiburg and Julidans
funded by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes and Cultural Department of the City of Vienna
with friendly support of Rudolf Augstein Stiftung, Arts and Culture Division of the Federal Chancellery of Austria, documenta Halle (Kassel), Montévidéo (Marseille)
thanks to Impulstanz Vienna