Date: October 24-November 10, 2019
Organizer: Comuna de Pedra, Macau
Supported by Pro Helvetia Shanghai, Swiss Arts Council
Zurich’s Theater HORA is the only professional theatre company in Switzerland whose ensemble members all have a certified “learning disability”. End of this year, members from Theatre HORA and directors of Company “Weinheimer/Elber” are invited by Comuna de Pedra from Macau for research and exchange, in order to prepare for a more in-depth theatrical co-production in 2020 called “The Never Ending Task”.
The mentally handicapped members of HORA and of Comuna de Pedra are specialists in the never-ending task of developing an identity. One’s acceptance as a “normal” person by others, which is the central premise on the way to autonomy, is constantly at stake. Being a stranger, not knowing the rules, having to learn: who knows better? The research starts with collecting and playing the members’ own stories, intertwining them with the ones of ourselves, to form a bigger, more complex, and more differentiated picture of humanity.
Company “Weinheimer/Elber” is the result of a long-term collaboration between Michael Elber and Chris Weinheimer. They were the founders and artistic leaders of the first and renowned theater for mentally handicapped actors in Switzerland, Theater Hora. Starting in 2000, they collaborated regularly in the context of “integrative” theater and performance. This year, Michael Elber decided to go freelance. Since the two wanted to continue working together, they founded “Weinheimer/Elber”. The focus of this group is spreading the idea of collaborative, non-exclusive artistic work in all parts of society and all over the world. This led them to Switzerland as well as Cairo, Singapore, Toronto, etc.
Comuna de Pedra from Macau, China, is an art troupe established in 1996. It has been focusing on physical and dance theatre productions, both on stage and site-specific, as well the promotion of art education, with the attempt to develop more artistic possibilities and cultivate the culture of Macau. Alongside, Comuna de Pedra also curates and produces different arts projects such as art exhibitions, festivals and cross-cultural collaborative programs.
(Banner Image by Mali Lazell. From left to right: Faces or masks of Noha Badir, Sara Hess, Michael Elber, Rmeo Beuggert Cecile Creuzburg, Matthias Grandjean.)