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Puppet Playground - Paperwork

Theater Bellevue
Event organized by Theater Bellevue

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Puppet Playground - Pop Arts Festival
Paperwork (LNP) - BetweenTwoHands
Fri 20 April 20.00 - Theater Bellevue
Fri 20 April 21.45 - Theater Bellevue

Paperwork is a theatrical installation inspired by the life and work of the Prague writer Franz Kafka. Through Paperwork, we wanted to immerse the viewer in a Kafkaesque world, without a linear narrative. Our aim was for the viewer to be able to feel as alienated, out of place or astonished as the protagonist often feels in the stories of Kafka.

As visual creators, we initially start working on the basis of material and image. We decided to work with paper for numerous reasons. First of all, because paper refers to all the paperwork involved in bureaucracy. Secondly, paper is a material that can transform from 2D to 3D by means of pop-up techniques. In our view, this was a beautiful metaphor for how a text on paper can form an entire world in someone’s head. Finally, we found paper to be a material that accurately represents the vulnerability of the protagonist from Kafka’s stories. For the most part, the protagonist in Kafka’s stories constantly seems to be under pressure, or searching for something or a solution. As the reader, you rarely get the impression that things will actually work out well for the protagonist. In the same way that you get a sense, as reader, of the fragile, vulnerable nature of the protagonists from Kafka’s stories, this is how you experience the fragility of the paper objects as viewer of Paperwork.

We wanted the objects that we made to tie in with an office. On the one hand, in order to emphasize the bureaucracy in Kafka’s stories, while on the other hand depicting the life of Kafka as office clerk and writer. In the office that we recreated for Paperwork, we wanted the viewer to gain a glimpse into a wearisome office life that continuously repeats itself in the same way. People go to work, files are sought and opened, the telephone is answered and typing is done. At the same time, a mole appears out of a file and it turns out there is a maze of paper steps in a table leg. It’s as if you are given a glimpse as viewer into Kafka’s head, in which all kinds of stories with absurd events are brewing, while he was actually just working in the office.

We wanted to provide the visitor with an experience through Paperwork; not a story from beginning to end, but a glimpse into an absurdist, Kafkaesque office of paper, in which all kinds of things happen. The viewer decides himself/herself how long he or she wants to continue watching the performance. There is no beginning and no end. The performers continue repeating the loop.

Concept, design & performance: Erin Tjin A Ton
Concept, design & performance: Gosia Kaczmarek
Director: Anna Verduin
Animations: Klaske Oenema
Sound design: Marcel de Rooij
Cameraman & editor: Ruben Pest
Costumes: Zahra Ait Ben Moh
Graphic design: Mariusz Kaczmarek
Photographer objects: Nick van Tiem
Photographer performance: Tudor Bratu

Sponsors and co-producers:
Amsterdam Fund for the Arts
Feikes Huis
Over het IJ Festival