Bilingual music theater (German/French) for vocal artist, flutes, bass clarinet, percussion, cello, double bass, audio playbacks, sound objects and self-built instruments (2019-21)
composition: Ole Hübner
text: Jürgen Genuit
scenography, staging: Kapitolina Tcvetkova
voice, performance: Frauke Aulbert
instruments, performance: HANATSUmiroir (Ayako Okubo, Azra Ramić, Olivier Maurel, Esther Saladin, Stéphane Clor)
technics, performance: Raphaël Siefert
June 10/11/12, 2021, Espace K Strasbourg
March 2022, Theater Eurodistrict Baden Alsace
Aide à l’écriture d’une œuvre musicale originale du Ministère de la Culture
ALICE is the result of a unique creation process, which over a period of almost 18 months has brought together composer, librettist, scenographer and musicians in joint meetings for explorations of various kinds. All participants give up their respective specific functions to a certain extent in order to engage in a collective process of writing and invention. This way of developing, a kind of laboratory of possibilities, corresponds to the desire to invent a new theatrical form that is to break away from reference to existing forms of musical theater to the extent that this project fundamentally questions the usual hierarchies and processes. The composition of the score, the construction of the set and the literary development are thus interdependent, influencing and inspiring each other in closely interwoven processes in which the performers of the work participate fully.
This desire is dictated by the subject itself, which is taken from the cult novel by Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland. To adapt such a masterpiece of bizarreness, craziness and eccentricity for stage and music requires new procedures, unused forms and an indispensable wealth of imagination. What sounds, what music is heard? Which textures, which materials are touched? What scents, what smells are being breathed, what languages spoken in Wonderland? These are the puzzles that our ALICE should try to solve – or at least offer different approaches to.
Wonderland here is a surreal world, a kind of heterotopia completely detached from human rules and natural laws, inaccessible to unimaginative persons. To translate the geography and the different components of this world, sound is used as a material to construct this imaginary architecture, with the only rule that the voice and the instruments are explored in an extraordinary way. Therefore, such vocal and playing techniques are used that can produce particularly unusual sounds and offer a whole range of limitless sound impressions. The instrumentation itself is quite colorful to allow for an infinite variety of sonic-textual combinations. Piccolo, flute and bass flute, clarinet and bass clarinet, cello, double bass, percussion, and also electronic sounds mix with various sound objects (howling hoses, everyday objects) and newly invented instruments emerging from the scenographic apparatus devised by Kapitolina Tcvetkova.
For the visual part of the performance Kapitolina Tcvetkova has devised an interactive module, at once a backdrop and a sculpture, consisting of various parts that can move or be separated from each other, folded or unfolded. These elements can be gradually discovered in the course of the performance, revealing piece by piece, and the more they present themselves, the complexity of Wonderland. They may include instruments for the performers, but also for the young spectators, who are invited to play on certain objects and in this way actively participate in the performance. The surface texture of these elements is particularly elaborated in order to allow also multiple touch experiences. Through this module, a complete sensory exploration is made possible, with the intention of the most natural and direct approach to the work.
One of the peculiarities of the piece is its bilingualism. Of course, it is inconceivable that there would be only one language in Wonderland, and so the text also mixes, it will include song lyrics that playfully blend German and French, playing with the rhythm of the words. This requires the talent of Jürgen Genuit, the German playwright who is successful in France and fluent in French, and who is responsible for adapting Lewis Carroll’s novel.
Although the text is fundamental to the understanding of the work, sometimes describing the action, sometimes the places or the characters, it is no more so than the other components of the piece – music, lighting and scenography – and serves above all as musical material. Like this text, which is both omnipresent and ephemeral, the characters are brought to life in a polymorphous way, being embodied alternately or simultaneously by one or another instrument (including electronics), a visual element (plastic or video) or the spectators themselves, who in this way have the freedom to project their own imagination onto the piece, to create their own inner Wonderland.