Anything written about LIGNA’s “The New Man”, a currently running as part of the Beit Lessin Theatre’s Open Stage Festival cannot come close to experiencing this provocative, exhilarating and secretly intellectual performance itself. The canny reader will realize that the current text is a brave attempt to describe an event without actually describing it – ideally you should experience this for yourselves and I don’t want to spoil the discovery.
As part of a group of roughly 40 people from the theatre and media (and one gate crasher who was eating a sandwich at the café, saw something interesting going on in the ZOA studio and walked in to join the fun), I had the opportunity to explore this intriguing guest performance from Germany. The performance takes place in the ZOA studio on the second floor. Audience members receive audio devices (don’t forget to bring along some form of ID to leave as a deposit until the end of the show) through which they receive live transmissions.
As someone who attends an unhealthy amount of alternative performances, I went in well aware that the range in these kinds of performances is vast – from abysmally boring and self-indulgent to mesmerizing. My experience with LIGNA yesterday may require a new adjective that has not yet been invented.
Unlike many technologically dependent events – this one is flawlessly executed – everything works. Even more surprising, the experiment with audience participation works too. Billed as a “dance performance without dancers, actors or stage”, “The New Man” was created by radio artists Ole Frahm, Michael Hünersn and Torsten Michaelsen. Founding LIGNA in 1995, they operate a free radio station in Hamburg and together have developed this form of theatre, which I really don’t want to spoil by revealing too much.
Gentle reader, at this point you may well be wondering “What the heck is a radio artist, anyway?” Well, Midnight East has a lot more to say about LIGNA (and I will), but with only 5 performances this weekend before they return to Germany, my message for now is: go see for yourself.
Image credit: Elizur Reuveni
“The New Man”
Friday, September 4 at 14:00 and 23:00
Saturday, September 5 at 11:00, 18:30 and 21:00
ZOA House, 26 Ibn Gvirol Street, Tel Aviv