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  • THE WORK: A rich, mystic vision


THE WORK: A rich, mystic vision

In Susanne Kennedy and Marcus Selg's final installation of their stage trilogy, THE WORK tells the story of a dying women revisiting her work and life. ★★★★

Photo: Mortiz Haase

Susanne Kennedy and Markus Selg’s THE WORK is a dream of dying, a mystic vision – with its own kind of dream logic. As the artist Xenia slides from life to death, she stages a retrospective of her work and life, replaying the pivotal moments.

This fitting finale to Kennedy and Selg’s trilogy about women on the edge, which begun with JESSICA – an Incarnation and continued with ANGELA (a strange loop), invites the audience to trespass across the theatre’s own porous border and inhabit the stage. Kennedy and Selg create a tantalisingly rich world featuring 15 years of Selg’s multidisciplinary art, fostering an intriguing tension between observing the retrospective and attending to the actors.

Kennedy and Selg create a tantalisingly rich world

Had Kennedy and Selg allowed the audience to miss moments, it would have only emphasised life’s constant emergence and dissolution – much like the patterns on Selg’s wild carpets. Instead, the looping construction ensures that the audience witnesses every scene, though perhaps at the expense of the work’s narrative development. Yet what the performance lacks in narrative, it makes up for with its atmospheric richness – an eeriness heightened by the actors’ uncanny masks.

While the dread turns gentle by Xenia’s end (“We love you. You did the work, and that’s what counts”), the journey here has been so strange and fascinating that one can only leave excited about the work that Selg and Kennedy will continue to do. Their creation, Xenia, might be dead, but their theatrical vision will live on with you. ★★★★

  • Volksbühne, Linienstr. 227, Mitte, English with German surtitles, July 3-4, details.