Temple du présent
Solo for an Octopus
Stefan Kaegi (Rimini Protokoll) in collaboration with Judith Zagury and Nathalie Küttel (ShanjuLab)
World Premiere: January 2021, Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne
How can we understand an animal whose intelligence is radically different from our own? How can we create a relationship with nature without appropriating it? And who is watching whom? In “Temple du présent”, an octopus becomes the performance’s protagonist.
- ca. 50 min, without interval
Eight arms, three hearts, a maximally flexible physique, a decentral nervous system, the ability to communicate via colour and texture – but above all, a great deal of curiosity and openness towards encounters with human beings. The octopus appears to be not just strange and interesting, but in fact interested in everything that occurs in and around its own habitat.
The octopus often serves as a projection surface of human fears or is found as a monster that dwells in myths and adventure stories. It is a popular appetizer in Mediterranean cuisine and frequently used in experiments. In recent years, it has increasingly been instrumentalised as a mascot and oracle for football fans or as a symbol for multi-tasking.
“Temple du présent” is an opportunity for spectators to experience quite a different encounter with an octopus. Placed in an aquarium on the theatre’s stage, the animal turns into the performance’s protagonist, and its behaviour is one of the main drivers of this performance’s dramaturgy and communication processes. The octopus’ willingness or refusal to interact with the human being standing next to the aquarium become determining factors. Enhanced by cameras and with a musical accompaniment of voices and compositions, the animal changes from the object of observation into its subject, right before the eyes of the audience. Its gaze casts a fundamental question over the human being, this animal that seems to have lost its instruction manual.
The octopus on stage comes from a fish market in southern France and was destined to be eaten. After the performances, it will return to its original habitat at a nature reserve in southern France.
Conceived and directed by Stefan Kaegi
In collaboration with an octopus as well as Judith Zagury and Nathalie Küttel (ShanjuLab)
Scientific Support Graziano Fiorito (Dept. of Biology and Marine Organisms, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Naples)
Dramaturgy Katja Hagedorn
Music Stéphane Vecchione (in collaboration with Brice Catherin)
Technics and Scenology Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne
Lighting Design Pierre Nicolas Moulin
Video Oliver Vulliamy
Production Anouk Luthier