A Telephone Journey Into Your Unlived Life
*** Invited to Heidelberger Stückemarkt 2015 ***
What could my life look like had I followed a different path? Callcenter Übermorgen (Callcenter – The Day After Tomorrow) is a decision-training-centre of the future for missed opportunities in life and new life plans.
In Callcenter Übermorgen, the participants sit in separate phone booths. The telephone rings and a roller-coaster ride begins, taking you through voice-activated menus and decision labyrinths, past the dizzying heights, uncanny twists and depressive depths of a 21st century life under the pressure of self-optimisation. Who or what tells me what to choose? Who is pulling the strings behind the scenes? Does my neighbour have the better trip? An evening about taking responsibility for yourself and others, and about freedom of choice.
“Callcenter Übermorgen is a challenging, brilliantly staged and utterly funny performance-installation, which tackles questions around self-optimization and (un)freedom of choice with compelling suggestive power.”
“The performance group Interrobang aims for new theater forms […]. It encourages the audience to debate and work in teams, even though everyone makes his/her very own experience. By what criteria do we make our decisions? Is there something such as free will? Does our choice make a difference?“
(Die Deutsche Bühne)
“The Interrobang collective has filled the Hochzeitssaal of the Sophiensaele with 40 translucent booths – a labyrinth of suspended white blinds, in which each audience member sits alone on the telephone. For a good 90 minutes, they choose their individual way through a phone menu, taking them through ever more abstract ‘dimensions’ toward post-Biblical Deluge scenarios (…). The acoustic journey takes in an astonishing range of original sound sources from Hannah Arendt, philosophical radio talk shows to blockbuster movies. Those expecting a critical attack on service economy had better not pick up the receiver but on the entertaining journey that is Callcenter Übermorgen, you always have the feeling that the system is enjoying itself. And that’s not funny at all.”
(Anja Quickert, Theater Heute, September 2013)
“What would you like to be – a man, a woman or an indefinite being? What would you do with freedom? Would you like to hear dark fantasies? According to announced statistics, an astounding amount of people chose dark fantasies. Or did they? Conference call… can you hold? Who is the invisible person I’m suddenly meant to spend 150 days on an ark with? Within the time limit, we exchange what we think of as wisdom and ‘gaze’ together out to sea. In the end, we’re turned off – for better or worse – and rise again in our cabins. Time to split. The blinds are pulled up revealing a simple room with white chairs, terrifyingly innocent. Finally the computer system went crazy, as it did in Sprachlabor. The most beautiful of visions.”
(Lucía Tirado, Neues Deutschland vom 14.05.2013)
“A lonely evening in the theatre begins harmlessly enough – auspiciously even – with the question of whether I would like to journey to the Alps or rather to the south? I press number one on the telephone for ‘south’ and ride on a mule through the Pyrenees. Now I am asked whether I’d rather meet the young woman who is massaging her ankle by the side of the road or talk to the mule. These are the first questions in this ninety minute terror of decision making. Free will is taken to absurd levels – presented in the true sense of the word. You are always given the choice, mostly between two or three possibilities you do not want at all. “Callcenter Übermorgen” is a voyage of self discovery of the most amusing kind. In the end we’re all dead and heaven is full. You experienced many things and missed many things, the handset intones.”
(Lucy Fricke, Berliner Morgenpost 03/06/2013)
“So what’s it all about? We have to think about whether and how often we can really choose freely in life. How much one decision can effect all the others. What happens if we try and break out of a system and whether we can or not. At the end, all the blinds are pulled up and you see the other guests of “Callcenter Übermorgen”, but you still don’t know which of them you talked to on the phone. The thought provoking impulse seems to have worked – long after the applause, many audience members continue to debate.”
Performed and Devised by: Nina Tecklenburg, Till Müller-Klug, Lajos Talamonti Conceptual Cooperation: Andreas Liebmann, Martin Schick Dramaturgy: Kaja Jakstat Telephone Installation: Georg Werner Music and Sound: Friedrich Greiling Set Design and Costume: Sandra Fox Lighting Design: Dirk Lutz Production: Marc Pohl Video Documentation: Gernot Wöltjen Assistant: Lisa Großmann Photos: Michael Bennett, Renata Chueire, Nina Tecklenburg.
With special thanks to Rubén Jódar, Claude and Juri Peinske
Production: Interrobang. Co-production: SOPHIENSÆLE. Funded by: Capital Cultur Fond.