KEEP CALM / Ufftenživot

performance length: 69 min

A documentary performance on two individuals in a neverending story. A mosaic composed of monologues, associative movement, puppetry, video, lectures and rap. KEEP CALM draws on literature, history, cultural stereotypes, the internet, and everyday realities which surround us.

We’re more than #nature. We’re more than #animals. The #world belongs to us – after all, we created the institute of ownership, and many other things to go with it. #Heroism, for instance. We have our dreams, our #shadows and our imagination. We live the life we created for ourselves. Perhaps that’s why our ideas about the world fall apart, why nobody is willing to accept this reality and why we take painkillers. #Absurd. Perhaps we’re slowly realising, and so we laugh and reflect on whatever we think needs reflecting. #Likes and #shares are not enough.

Most of our problems come from one source. We come from one source. Sometimes, when we look out of our #bubble, the reality we live in, we witness infinity. I am a #human, a wise individual, a family member, a friend, a hero. I am a leader, a component, an agent, a destroyer, I am everything. Who am I? Where do I come from, who do I belong to? Do I belong to the world? Once, I will die and become the Earth, an animal, the universe. And then what?

“Keep calm and carry on” – a war motto adopted by the internet and turned into a universal piece of advice, applicable to any situation. So too this work searches for a universal user’s guide to life. Two performers, alone and yet together, invite the audience to share feelings that are not entirely foreign to them. At times it looks like #chaos, but in the end, it is no more chaotic than our own lives – a tangle of songs, mottos, slogans and memes. In an alienated world of sharing, in the world of irony, kitsch, joy and sadness.

Anyway, keep having #fun…

Created by: Ufftenživot / Sára Arnstein, Jiří Šimek
Alternation: Johana Schmidtmajerová
Dramaturgical Collaboration: Marta Ljubková
Light Design: Tomáš Morávek, Štěpán Hejzlar
Scenographic Collaboration: Marie Gourdain
Noises/sounds/audio recordings: Jiří Šimek, Sára Arnstein
Music: Tomáš Vtípil
Poster photographer: Marek Bartoš
Producer: Marianna Slováková
Trailer: Dominik Žižka, Jiří Šimek
Premiére: 28.9. 2017, divadlo Alfred ve dvoře

Supported by/Special thanks to:
KEEP CALM was created thanks in part to funds from the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, the State Fund for Culture and Prague 7 City District.
The project was further supported by Motus, producers of the Alfred ve dvoře theatre,
We also thank the following for providing residency spaces: Cooltour Ostrava, Divadlo na cucky, Industra STAGE, Kredance ( v lese & Švestkový dvůr Malovice) and Studio ALTA.

Ufftenživot is a group working in devised theatre. It is composed of two core members: Sára Arnstein and Jiří Šimek, both graduates of Petra Tejnorová’s acting atelier at the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre at DAMU in Prague. They have created three productions to date, Králíček (The Little Rabbit), a puppet show, GoG, a project on the confluence of slam poetry, multimedia, and movement, and Loneliess&stuff, a physical theatre performance with text.

Ufftenživot sees theatre as heightened experience and a space for sharing, a place to return to something we have long forgotten, to our natural spirituality, trampled down by today’s consumerist, accelerated style of life. They attempt to create events that provoke the audience to take its own critical standpoint, to widen its horizons and to approach what is around us anew. “The absurdity and inconsistency of the world is an inspiration for us. We believe in the benefit of a detached view, in theatre as a good meeting place and also that simplification is problematic: the times and their character are never black or white, which is why we try to speak of the world in its complexity. We like to explore the palette of reality by calling it into question, which is what leads us to our theme.”