The Ghosts – Chinese Acrobatics meeting Contemporary Dance

photos:Anna Agliardi

“We make things that break easy. We people don’t!” – That is the outspoken subtitle of the new documentary/theater/dance piece The Ghosts by Costanza Macras at Schaubühne. Featuring underaged but incredibly talented acrobats from China telling the story of their lives in between acts of artistic braveness this piece has a quite unusual but nevertheless engaging and interesting topic. For Macras the Chinese acrobatic artists, who once were celebrated for their bravery now live in materially precarious, ghostly conditions. This manifests a metaphor for life in contemporary China, with its contradictions, social injustice and power structures. Those who once brought the country glory and honor are discarded as soon as they are no longer top achievers.

Instead of taking the audience by storm with a strong and unstoppable ensemble as in Macras’ previous pieces, The Ghosts comes to life through the three Chinese girls who were the heart of the piece. Also, the dynamic with the audience (and maybe also an unplanned manipulation) was quite special in my opinion. The young girls presented the circus acts they usually show to the visitors of an old amusement park on a little Chinese island. The audience bamboozled and often even clapped between the acts as if they where in a circus instead of a theater. I think most of the (intellectual) audience in this kind of theater would rather disapprove to watch underaged children perform dangerous acts for their amusement. But out of the context and hidden as “documentary theater” I guess that some people actually quite liked the adrenaline pumping acrobatic talent of the performers. This showed to me how easy it is to make people like something, they would normally disapprove of. And this little mind-trick was for me actually the best thing of the whole piece. Tonight you have still the chance to see the amazing piece at Schaubühne. Check out photographic impressions of The Ghosts after the jump.

all photos: Anna Agliardi

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