Liquid Penguin Ensemble

A play that was especially set up for a certain room. Optical as well as acoustic peculiarities of the performance room were to be an essential part of the play from the beginning.

Special challenges / difficulties:
The location the event was to take place was the former canteen of a rail wagon repair shop in Saarbrucken. It was divided in two rooms separated by a folding door. The first section could be entered directly from the main entrance. This part of the building had very strong reverberations. The room which joined directly behind the folding door was the total opposite acoustically. It had a very dry acoustic environment. We wanted to use these two aspects as creative means. One big challenge was the need of extremely high speech intelligibility, because the play was bilingual (German/French) partly with two languages in parallel action.

In summer, 2008 first preparations began for the rehearsal phase to the project "Bout du Monde" of the "Liquid Penguin Ensemble". The piece was primarily about new perceptions, so limiting and widening of ordinary views was topic. Nevertheless, these new perspectives should not be restricted to the optical points of view.
Both the optic of architecture and the acoustic state played an important role. Moreover, a tiny house approx. 200 m away from the canteen should also play a part. It had to be optically as well as acoustically integrated for end of the play.
In the middle of the play there was an improvised part. By drawing of lots the audience decided which of the performers had to play which solo. So every show had different improvisation parts. One of the parts, that could be drawn, was a real-time manipulated surround sound installation. Therefore 8 audio channels from a DAW were fed into a 6-loudspeaker setup.
Another interesting part was a scene in which 3 musicians were placed behind the old food serving counter in the kitchen. The audience could see and hear them playing through some half opened windows. At a certain point in the play the musicians froze, but the sound should go on if they went on playing. I realized that with multitrack recordings of the music, priorly made during the rehearsals at the positions of the loudspeakers.
Frequently both languages appeared simultaneously. The challenge in this case was to present the two languages in a way that every spectator could very clearly understand the language of his/her choice. No language should dominate or interfere with the other.
At the end of the play all the performers (actors and musicians) moved to a small house 200m away.
The spectators watched this scenery like a movie scene out of a wide window front at the end of the room. I had prepared this "holiday lodge" with two wireless microphones. With the arrival of the performers at the house the audience could follow all the dialogues and music in this virtual film scene.

Liquid Penguin Ensemble:

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