At SThree we like to think we offer something a little bit different and out of the ordinary but even we were impressed (and a little confused to be honest) after a trip with clients to a show at the Kunsfestivadesarts in Brussels.
The work of Italian director Romeo Castellucci, Usoumano di esseriumani or the “Human use of human beings” requires you to leave our world behind and immerse yourself in a different reality. The show is called Uso umano di esseri umani (“Human use of human beings”) and was hosted in the Byrrhamide a former studio where artists have set up home and while we were serenaded by African musicians on their djembé’s a family in residence went about their business and a black cat wandered amongst us. As food and refreshment were served one of the organisers tried to explain what were about to experience, though little could actually prepare us for what was to unfold.
Blankets were handed out as we made our way to the basement theatre where we were met by four men wearing white overalls and gas masks. The smell of ammonia representing a dissolving corpse assaulted our noses and we were surrounded by a circle with symbols representing 400 concepts that according to Castellucci can be reduced to just four words. We made our way to a second hall where the performance took place. Describing what we saw almost doesn’t make sense, you take from it only your own understanding of what you see. The play uses the Lingua Generalissima, an artificial language and the actors re-enact the biblical story of the resurrection of Lazarus over an over again using fewer and fewer words each time until all that is left is just the four words.
We used a lot more than four words afterwards when we all discussed what we’d taken away from it. Our clients were enthusiastic in different ways and as confused as us but one thing's for sure, it gave us all lots to think about and who knows maybe our meetings will be shorter in the future if we can say everything in just four words.
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