malá inventura  |  development of new art


A different kind of a soap opera – performance behind a closed bathroom door /45min/ no language barrier

year of origin:2011

Water from the tap drips onto the surface while steam fogs up the mirrors, tiny bits of soap are starting to crack. You are the only one here and time has stood still. Too closed into yourself, you lose your grip on reality. The imagination swells, the soap comes to life and masses of foam prepare a speech while the deer plays us a few tunes on a comb, all surrounded by an organic world of speaking towels, sponge music, dancing bubbles and singing, rough texture of the facecloths...

This provocative performance artfully plays with context: a space which is supposed to stay behind closed doors, filled with solitude and intimacy, is disclosed to audience. A bathroom is transposed on stage and the audience, like so many voyeurs, peek into a space where one is usually alone, surrounded only by steam and daydreams. This performance challenges itself to maintain that feeling of intimacy and fragility on the stage, and to change it briefly into a sanctuary of purification.

The three performers make full use of the theme. They show how a set form without a story, suspended in a timeless space, can become multilayered and inspiring. A bathroom might be a laboratory or an obsession, a place for children's games, for private rituals, a quiet cry, nakedness, or  Christmas carps.

This theme of intimacy asks us to consider even broader issues, such as whether the presence of others is essential for us to confirm to our own normality. "Are the things I do when nobody can see me okay? Normal? What would others say?". Once the audience member (the Other) is really present, this question loses its meaning. Although the true secrets of Tereza Benešová's, Tereza Koníčková's, Sofia Adamová's, and Anja Šebelková's bathrooms are most likely to remain secrets, the complexness of relationships like "I know that you see me, but you are pretending not to see me" and its opposite, based on live performance, as magical and mesmerizing as it is, is explored fully in this work.

BATHROOMS: PART I. SOAP is based an a range of design-based theatre performances in the bathrooms of private apartments in the Czech Republic and France between 2009 and 2011. The results of these experiments in private space are now being developed further in theatrical space.

The Rybařvoucí Group was founded in 2009. Its members are predominantly set designers who have decided to use collective devised creation in their work, focusing on visual elements, use of materials and performance and stylization of the resulting shape of their performances. The flagship performance of the Rybařvoucí group is the Bathrooms, a project presented in the Czech Republic and France. Currently, the group also runs a festival of alternative music called Listopadové kozelce (Praha – Litomyšl), and a symposium on music and land art by railroad tracks called Lokálka (Vysoké Mýto – Litomyšl).

Soap was premiered on 28.11. 2011 at Řetízek Studio of the Theatre Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (DAMU).

Concept: Tereza Benešová, Tereza Koníčková, Sofia Adamová, Anja Šebelková, set design: Tereza Benešová, performed by: Tereza Koníčková, Sofia Adamová, Anja Šebelková, technical support: Matěj Beneš, Michal Cáb

This project was made possible with the support of DAMU Academy, Prague.