Unsafe Company, Basle (CH),
Compagnie Crème Renversée, Paris,
Associazione Culturale Dello Scompiglio, Vorno (I)
performer Cecilia Bertoni
concept and mise en scène Claire Guerrier
stage design Steven Maryns
lighting design Pierre Montessuit
sound design Christophe Bollondi
shooting and editing Kristina Årling
video installation Reinhard Manz, Point de vue
lights Cornelius Hunziker
sound direction Luca Telleschi
technical direction Associazione Imagine
press office Giovanna Mazzarella
graphic design Tessy Tabaku -IAD
première February 2006, Walzwerk Münchenstein, Basle
Birth and death are both part of life. Unlike birth, however, death brings with it a whole range of fears, pain, and uncertainty... What can I expect from death?
Will it give me knowledge? What are the inner and outer secrets that death is able to unravel within me and in those around me? Am I a passive victim of these secrets, or am I able to go out and meet them as I wish? Is death a form of defeat or a triumph that crowns life? Can religion give me the answers I am seeking?
Can I choose how to die? And, above all, do I really want to think about these things?
These are questions we have asked people we know. Everyone has replied in a different way and what has emerged is a gallery of portraits in which death has unwittingly donned the guise of birth. A painful birth, but a birth all the same. One of these testimonials, that of suicide, is taken up by Cecilia Bertoni in a performance. Here, suicide is the solution to pain that never dies within oneself; suicide as a questioning of life and its meaning. Life comes and goes through the same door. It just depends which way you look at it.
outline and notes on the project
People are interviewed and filmed to examine their relationship with death, their fears and nostalgias. For example:
Alphonsine was born in Rwanda. And it was there that she grew up, studied, and got married. In 1994 war broke out, and in a few weeks hundreds of thousands of people died in the massacres. Believing she had lost her entire family, she fled to Belgium with her only surviving daughter, in order to give her a better future: "This little girl has seen and experienced so much, and yet she is only four years old", says her mother. One year later, in Belgium, the little girl drowns in a pool no more than thirty centimetres deep. "God has humiliated me", says her mother.
Wilhelm is a French writer. He feels he is an outsider and a spiritualist, and has a certain inclination for risk. Aged 15 he rides down a mountain on his motorbike, going faster and faster, defying the void below him. Wilhelm is almost blind as the result of a disease. He tells us of a dream in which he meets his death. But he opts for life. Last year he wrote "In the Womb of the Sea", describing this dream.
Anna is a musician who lives in Basle. She would like to die in peace and, when the moment comes, share all she has accumulated and inherited from her parents.
And she has one more wish: to sit on a flying carpet, well wrapped up, and look calmly down on the whole world from above...
Judith is a German actress and therapist. She grew up in a parish as the daughter of a Protestant priest. She has repeatedly been caught up in a vicious circle of suicidal thoughts. "If you can't find any meaning, if you arouse no interest, if you are not loved and cannot give your love to others, why ever should you live?" An everyday musing and query. But she does not actually take her own life, because her sense of guilt would bring with it the consequences of punishment. You would like to, but you can't. No permission to live, but none to die either...
Ralph is a forensic pathologist in the cantonal hospital in Basle. He was born in the city and he loves his work. He finds it curious that a man who shows no sign of death, at least not outwardly, should have stopped breathing. He loves life, he says, and in private he does not dwell too much on the subject. He does not believe there is anything after death, but nor does he want to think about the matter too much. Even so, he likes the idea that there might possibly be something.
Sian is an English clown. Every day she makes people laugh, but thoughts of suicide are part of her daily life. An inner paralysis prevents her from going through with it. A contradiction: when asked "How would you like to die?", she replies: "At aged ninety, fucking on a horse!"
A mother and obstetrician, Anouk comes from Basle. When an expectant mother says she wants to die, and that she will die, as an obstetrician Anouk knows that delivery is about to begin. One inevitably gets back to zero. Birth is an immense, overpowering act of the force of life.
"in death you hold me
I have no desire for death
no suicide ever had
watch me vanish
It is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the
underside of my mind
please, open the curtains
(Sarah Kane "4.48 Psychosis")
16-17-18 FEBRUARY 2007
Teatro Furio Camillo, Roma
29 JULY 2007
Estate a Radicondoli - Scuderie del Palazzo Comunale
9 JULY 2008
Festival di Ravello - Belvedere di Villa Ruffolo
23 JULY 2008
Cantiere Internazionale d'Arte di Montepulciano - Teatro dei Concordi, Acquaviva
3-4 NOVEMBER 2010
Festival "Dinamiche Scomposte" cured by Company Blu - Teatro Della Limonaia - Sesto Fiorentino (FI)
"The contribution made by the performer Cecilia Bertoni is decisive, unremitting, and unpredictable. What this artist shows us is by no means a celebration of personal pain and, even if it were, it is elevated by the power of art, by her great mastery of body language. Directed by Claire Guerrier, the show introduces associative processes in which disturbing and amusing dreams chase after each other, at times in a highly thought-provoking manner." JOHANNA OTTER (Basler Zeitung, 17 February 2006)
minimal scenic space: width 8 m. - depth 10 m. - height 6 m.