Basically I Don't But Actually I Do


Created and Performed by Jochen Roller, Saar Magal
Lights Marek Lamprecht
Soundtrack Paul Ratzel
Production Management DepArtment / Harriet Lesch, Katharina von Wilcke

Produced by Jochen Roller and DepArtment, in coproduction with Kampnagel Hamburg and Goethe-Institut Tel Aviv. Funded by Behörde für Kultur, Sport und Medien Hamburg and Fonds Darstellende Künste e.V.

Premiered March 2009 at Kampnagel Hamburg
Invited by Sophiensaele Berlin, Access to Dance – Muffathalle München, Tmuna Theater Tel Aviv, Arts House Melbourne 2009-2011

photos       Friedemann Simon, Gadi Dagon

In their collaboration, German choreographer Jochen Roller and his Israeli colleague Saar Magal take a photo of an SS man shooting a Jewish woman as the starting point to compile a catalogue of images and situations that are stored in their heads and bodies as phantoms of the memory of the Holocaust. As children of the third generation, as the grandchildren of both perpetrators and victims, they examine via choreography how these phantoms of memory influence the perception of the other. What if the people in the photograph were originally Grandpa Roller and Grandma Magal? Without direct access to the historical information that disappeared with their grandparents, they use various experimental set-ups on stage to explore the ideas and realities that shape their German-Israeli relationship.

Hamburger Abendblatt, 05.03.09

“Through changing their yellow and brown clothes – the colours of the Nazi uniform and the Yellow star – the German Roller and the Israeli Magal change their respective roles as grandchildren of victims and perpetrators. By using the physical presence of the body as a symbolic and iconic sign, the duo succeeds in approaching the precarious subject of the performance in a convincing way that transforms the white square on stage for an entire hour into a temporary location of nightmarish commemoration.”

Hamburger Morgenpost, 06.03.09

“The German shows up in Nazi brown, the Jewish wears the yellow of the Yellow star. Are these ridiculous clichés? Unfortunately not. Even 70 years after the Holocaust, the GermanJewish relationship is burdened, as shows an impressing dance performance at Kampnagel: “Basically I don’t but actually I do.” The stranger the title, the clearer the piece. (...) Is art allowed to do this? It should do so. Even if the outcome is not really theatre but rather a memorial created by bodies. Overwhelming applause!”

Die Welt, 06.03.09

“A synchronized dance triggers rhythmically the machinery of systematic extinction. In the choreography of Jochen Roller this also becomes an intellectual dispute between word and movement, between sign and meaning. Only that this time he renounces the use of irony. Rather he relies on Saar Magal who manages, even in a gleaming yellow dress and with blonde hair, to show her dark sides. (...) It is the daily experience of the present that repeatedly wakes up the horror of the past without prior notice. And at the same time the subject never appears to be morally enforced. ”

Kieler Nachrichten, 06.03.09

“The German-Israeli body installation “Basically I don’t but actually I do.” transforms the stage of the Kampnagel theatre in Hamburg into a choreographed memorial, a place which remembers the horror of the Holocaust. The two dance artists manage to trigger associations and memories for the Holocaust. They do this is a distanced, reduced and emblematic form, by the careful and precise use of text and sound and by creating body tableaux that quote old photographies. (...) No word is too much, no gesture is redundant, no sound too intrusive. Everything fits together and achieves its impact. This process being an extremely risky attempt to approach the horrible, too often suppressed truth, to which the two performers expose themselves with their skin and hair. ”

Hamburger Abendblatt, 07.03.09

“‘Great!’ would be the wrong word for this performance. This is uncomforting body theatre that refrains from preaching or moralizing: The German-Israeli performance project “Basically I don’t but actually I do.” by Jochen Roller and Saar Magal at Kampnagel Hamburg. The two artists manage to grasp the delicate subject in an intelligent, untheatrical and scarily dense manner.”

taz hamburg, 10.03.09

“The performance “Basically I don’t but actually I do.” is the perfect approach to dance theatre for an unexperienced audience. In a very skilled matter it manages to change between narrative comprehensibility and semantic surplus value. As touching the story is, (...) as sober and precise is the choreography. Full of creative ideas, this piece is made of minimal images. It is incredibly honest but also shows traces of grotesque. This all happening with an incredible soundtrack. The performance rustles, rattles, pitches and drones. As audience you hardly dare to breathe. ”