BATHROOMS: PART I. SOAP / Rybařvoucí o.s.

Part of the Small Inventory Festival
performance length: 45 min
a different sort of soap opera – performance behind the closed bathroom door
no language barrier

Water from the tap drips onto the surface while steam fogs up the mirrors, the bits of soap are starting to crack. You are the only one here and time has stood still. Too closed into yourself, you lose your grip on reality. The imagination swells, the soap comes to life and masses of foam prepare a speech while the deer plays us a few tunes on a comb, all surrounded by an organic world of speaking towels, sponge music, dancing bubbles and the singing, rough texture of the facecloths...

This provocative performance artfully plays with context: a space which is supposed to stay behind closed doors, filled with solitude and intimity, is presented for an audience to view. The bathroom shifts onto the stage and the audience, like so many voyeurs, peek into a space where one is usually alone, surrounded by steam and daydreams. This performance challenges itself to maintain that feeling of intimacy and fragility on the stage, and to change it briefly into a sanctum of purification.

The three performers make full use of the theme. They show how a set form without a story, suspended in a timeless space, can be many-layered and inspire with its theme. A bathroom might be a laboratory or an obsession, a place for children's games, for private rituals, a quiet cry, nakedness, or the Christmas carps.

This theme of intimacy asks us to consider even broader issues, like whether the presence of others is essential for us to confirm our own normality. "Are the things I do when nobody can see me okay? Normal? What would others say?". Once the audience member (the Other) is really present, this question loses its meaning. Although the true secrets of Tereza Benešová's, Anežka Kalivodová's, Sofia Adamová's, and Aňa Šebelková's bathrooms are most likely remain secrets, the complexity of relationships like "I know that you see me, but you are pretending not to see me" and its opposite, based on the magic and mesmerizing act that is live performance, is explored fully in this work.

BATHROOMS: PART I. SOAP is based an a range of design-based theatre performances in the bathrooms of private apartments in the Czech Republic and France between 2009 and 2011. The results of these experiments in private space are now being developed further in theatrical space.

The Rybařvoucí Group was founded in 2009. Its members are predominantly set designers who have decided to use collective devised creation in their work, with a focus on visual elements, work with material, performance and stylization of the resulting shape of their performances. The flagship performance of the Rybařvoucí group is the Bathrooms project in the Czech Republic and France. Currently the group also runs a festival of alternative music called Listopadové kozelce ( Praha – Litomyšl), and a symposium on music and land artu by the railroad tracks called Lokálka (Vysoké Mýto – Litomyšl).
Soap was first premiered on 28.11 2011 in the Řetízek Studio of the DAMU Academy in Prague.

This project was made possible by the support of the DAMU Academy, Prague and the New Web.

Photo: Jan Přibylský Photo: František Vlček Photo: František Vlček