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a music theater performance about and with a large instrument, performed by five different artists:
Steffi Hensel (text), Max Schumacher (directing), Clayton Thomas (music), Hiroko Tanahashi (video) & Ellen Urban (acrobatics) join forces to feature the double-bass as a solo star.
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Premiere:December 27th, 2008 at Radialsystem, Berlin

Contrabass (Documentation) from post theater on Vimeo.

The team truly challenges the fashionable terms inter-disciplinary and collaboratively by narrating a story of separation and unification | of an instrument and its instrumentalist.

The composer and bass player Clayton Thomas has been inspired by the other contributing elements of the project: Steffi Henselfs play, Hiroko Tanahashifs video-art and Ellen Urbanfs rope-acrobatics. Likewise, the playwright Steffi Hensel has written texts under the impression of Clayton Thomasfs multi-facetted bass-paying, and Ellen Urban created her choreography according to Thomasfs finger movements on the strings as well as Tanahashifs projected imagery.

The very concept of creating this interaction between otherwise separated art forms has been conceived by theater director Max Schumacher. He has invited experts of their respective fields to all play with the concept of the double bass | a massive instrument that is still fighting for attention. His stage design is an installation that grows into a huge bass, with the strings being ropes and fabric lanes on which Ellen Urban moves | with the imagery projected on them. This unusual, multi-layered arrangement of screens allows video projections and a live performer to interact in a way that cannot be reached on the ground | and should not been moved away from the double bassfs vertical position. This is the position of the double bass | mostly.

Clayton Thomas showcases all the possible positions of the instrument, ways of tickling, teasing, forcing, caressing, beating and shaking sounds out of the body of his double-bass The range of sounds is exceeding the preconception most audiences might have about the double bass by far.

It is the teamfs ambition to overwhelm with playfulness | and surprise the audience with new images and sounds and combinations of these. Rather than striving for dominance, the contributing elements are supporting each other, allowing a new definition for music theater.

The interpretation is up to the audience - we see the inner live of the instrument struggling between megalomania and despair, narcissism and self-hatred. What shifts the states of artistsf self-image, self-confidence and openness to others?In gcontrabassh no single element follows the others exclusively. All elements are simultaneously developed in observation of all other elements. Composition, text, choreography, video art, dramaturgy all respond equally to each other. The piece can be seen as cutting edge new music concert, experimental circus spectacle, video-art screening or music theater. But none of these terms would perfectly describe the nature of this performance.

Press response:
gClayton Thomas attacks and teases the double bass in the most delightful of ways.h
(Ulrich Pollmann in Der Tagesspiegel, December 29th, 2008)

This melange of music and sound as well as tenderness and roughness fits perfectly to the artistsf strategy to combine heterogeneous influences with pleasure and effect.g
(Tomasz Kurianowicz in Berliner Zeitung, December 24th | 26th, 2008)

Author: Steffi Hensel
Director: Max Schumacher (post theater)
Composer / musician: Clayton Thomas
Video artist: Hiroko Tanahashi (post theater)
Acrobat / choreographer: Ellen UrbanProduction management / PR: Mario Stumpfe (artkrise)
Technical director: Fabian Bleisch
Design: Hiroko Tanahashi (post theater)
Production assistance and web-site: Esther Schelander (post theater)Premiere: December 27th, 2008 at Radialsystem, Berlin
Co-production partner: Radialystem, Berlin
Funded by grant by the Mayor of Berlinfs cultural office





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