Gisèle Vienne's fifth work at Summer Festival, with Adèle Haenel, Katia Petrowick and Theo Livesey, shows the full creative power of theatre as an art form.
Gisèle Vienne’s theatre is among the most powerful to be seen on European stages: the French-Austrian artist combines puppetry and acting, choreography, lighting, sound and set design to create a theatrical language so intense that it penetrates deeper levels of consciousness – both in her audience and her stage characters. In 2018 she dissected ecstatic dancing party guests in CROWD, a milestone in recent dance history. And in Robert Walser’s DER TEICH, she most recently looked into the suicidal thoughts of a teenager – played “overwhelmingly” (FAZ) by the renowned French actress Adèle Haenel, who is now, together with Katia Petrowick and Theo Livesey, back on stage in EXTRA LIFE. The piece follows a latenight reunion between two siblings who are connected through a traumatic family history. Vienne unfolds this one moment in Proustian monumentality and makes the patriarchal socio political dimension of repression visible – with subversive humor, a stage architecture of laser light, and music by synthesizer composer Caterina Barbieri (who also plays a concert at the festival closing).