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Marat/Sade

The design explores the relationship between people within an authoritarian society. The system depicts a controlled society in which individuals lose their humanity through deprivation of liberty. In this form of oppression the human being becomes no more then industrial livestock.

Play:               ‘The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul                                 Marat as performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of                           Charenton under the Direction of the Marquis de                                 Sade’ by Peter Weiss

Academic:      Claus Stump
Designed for: Halle Kalk - Bühnen Köln, Germany


This is a large scale industrial installation performance piece, where the audience's presence and experience of the piece is a key component of the intricate design.

The design arose from a combination of the ‘perfect prison’ and a circular milking parlour. The plush auditorium/seating area is in the middle of the stage construction, which consists of a revolving outer-ring and an inner-platform. Each cubicle of the outer-ring is conceived for one actor. They can be filled with water during the play through an overhead shower ring and later emptied again. In addition there is a second ring with monitors, one over each cabin, so that at each point in time during the play each cabin can be live-streamed on the monitors. The only possibility to enter the inner platform is via a production line platform and trough a cubicle of the outer-ring. 

 

The brutal setting is juxtaposed by the social nicities of the Coulmier family, who act as the audience's hosts for the evening. The audience, cast as beourgeoise guests of the Coulmiers are invited to witness the performance of the inmates of the Charenton Asylum, and called by the production to bear implicit witness to a tale of corruption, revolution and censorship.

With echos of a voyeuristic and comodified modern society, there is no escape from the realities of opression and suppression, and the wide gulf that exists between the high status audience, and the immensely vulnerable performers is made palpable, the former lounging in comfort, the latter literally stripped down and put on show.

 The dramatic reality of the piece is at tension with the suspended disbelief of the audience; this tension blurs the line between the private and the public, and creates an uncomfortable pressure within this hermetic environment. Inbuilt into the production is a call to action against brutality and subjugation.  

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