Performance Laboratory Salzburg 

Anyone who follows the news hardly needs reminding that religion is a contentious issue. The Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris was by no means the only recent incident where religious belief has been used as a pretext for violent political action. Is it inevitable that this is what religion will become? Or are there alternatives, both for religion and for secular society? ‘The Future of Religion’ is both theme and title for an evening of five short performance pieces created by 6 emerging international directors with 44 acting and dancing students from the Thomas Bernhard Institut and SEAD (Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance) within the framework of PLAS (Performance Laboratory Salzburg).These works by Anja Behrens (Copenhagen), Mizgin Bilmen (Frankfurt), Eddy D’aranjo/Jean Massé (Paris), Asaf Hameíri (Salzburg) and Zafiris Nikitas (Thessaloniki) span a wide range of thematic interests and highly diverse formal and transdisciplinary approaches. Together they make up an evening of shared investigation, of questions and ideas, proposals and provocations. And a chance to look to the future without hysteria or fear. Be prepared to be asked to think and to stop thinking, to believe and to stop believing. Be prepared for miracles, rituals and encounters with cultural icons as varied as Dante Alighieri and Conchita Wurst. Do not abandon hope, ye who enter here.

This 2015 edition is the second Performance Laboratory Salzburg, following a highly successful first edition in 2013. Its principal aim is to establish an open and free space for performative research available to young directors, actors and dancers within the context of an international arts university. Each edition focuses on a contemporary topic of political concern. The participants all meet in Salzburg for two weeks of intense collaborative investigation, proposing and examining ideas and concepts, exploring individual methods of rehearsal, and experiencing working together in an international framework. One of the Laboratory’s key outcomes is to enhance the prospect of future international collaboration for its participants. 


The Five Projects:



How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb


Concept: Eddy D'aranjo, Jean Massé & Manon Worms

Directors: Jean Massé & Eddy D’aranjo

Design: Rubi Brockhausen

With: Barbara Bardaka, Indira Chamale, Sergej Czepurnyi, Riccardo De Simone, Erik Elizondo Campos, Steffen Lehmitz, Adrienne Lejko, Yascha Nolting, Dominik Puhl, Tilly Sordat, Caner Sunar.

We wanted to talk about Austria. We wanted to talk about Conchita Wurst, and say that this « new idol » was a way to answer a failure – the failure of these dying religions committed to assigning to us closed and reassuring identities – by the subversion of those categories. We wanted to speak with Schwab’s words and share both our desperation and our need to find an oasis in the contemporary European spiritual desert.

The desert caught us back. The recent events force us to talk about France. How can we recover after an attack ?

As we live in a time where our identites are everyday targeted by more and more injunctions, without any doubt because of terror and of the so called « clash of civilizations », the bearded woman appears to us as a salutary figure. Her carnivelesque universe is a chance to cause trouble again in the well organized world of our representations, and perhaps to offer a communion of a new kind.

Why couldn't we answer to terror with laughter ? This is the challenge that Conchita and Werner Schwab impose on us.



Director: Mizgin Bilmen

Design: Sabine Mäder, Migin Bilmen

With: Alexandros Anastasiadis, Isabella Daffara, Soraya Emery, Lily Epply,

Máté Horváth, Erika Rehnberg, Florenze Schüssler, Rebecca Seidel, Felix Urbina Alejandre.

Religion and culture are closely associated, just like culture and consciousness. The question of gnosticism and of genesis and the way these have been treated culturally through storytelling, starting with the Bible and continuing with novels and then theatre, provides the conceptual framework for engaging with the question of the future of religion. What consequences does our general notion of God have for our human existence in its most concrete sense: the body? The collision of body and mind opens up the field of psychology and research into consciousness but that is a different story and should be told another time.



After Dante Alighieri


Director: Asaf Hameíri

Stage Design: Sascha Koch

Costume Design: Lou Ann Hinderhofer & Petra Schnakenberg

Music: Verena Tomys, Sascha Koch

With: Donald Beteille, Fabian Felix Dott, Elias Füchsle, Luis Garcia López, Patricia Hastewell, Wolf Danny Homann, Dunya Narli, Valentina Schüler, Csenger Szabó, Giulia Tornarolli.

We made our way through the night, peering as far ahead as our eyes could reach against the bright rays of the evening sun. But gradually smoke as black as night began to overtake us. There was no place we could avoid it. It robbed us of sight and of clean air.

(Dante Alighieri, Divine Comedy, Purgatory, Canto 15)




Director: Zafiris Nikitas

Design: Anna Brandstätter

With: Sophia Burtscher, Evelyne De Weerdt, Niv Melamed, Marie Jensen, Niklas Maienschein, Beatriz Maldonado Cabo, Alexander Prince Osei.

What is going to happen if seven people are stranded in a scorched earth, striving to survive, hungry for meaning? Is the end of all certainty the future of religion? Or do people reinvent themselves facing their basic instincts?

Post-Apocalyptic Blues is a performance that faces the wondrous and the terror that lurks in the chaotic freedom of our new born century.

Using motifs from the novel 'The Road' by Cormac McCarthy, where a father and a son embark on a survival journey, along with excerpts from 'City of God' by St. Augustine and devised material, seven performers verge on the edge of the community and search for what is sacred beyond what is religious.





Director: Anja Behrens

With: Michel Briand, Martin Esser, Jonas Hackmann, Alexandra Krajewska,

Tove Lindström, Nina Steils.

We will explore the individual necessity of belief and the accompanying question of finding or giving MEANING in a time where the overall consensus is that no given MEANING exists. In addition to this we will explore the cultic theatre as a place of the subconscious and mystical, where one is confronted with the unanswered questions of origin, love and death; a ritual site, where with unsparing self-revelation we will come into contact with the primordial story of closeness and distance.



The young directors:

ANJA BEHRENS was born in Germany and now lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark. She studied acting at the Michael Tschechow Studio, Berlin, and directing at the Danish National School of Performing Arts. Her student production of Aeschylus’s Oresteia was invited to the Fast Forward Festival for young directors in Braunschweig, Germany in 2013. She was nominated for PLAS by the KGL (Royal Danish Theatre), Copenhagen.

MIZGIN BILMEN was born and grew up in Duisburg. After studying literature, a range of jobs in independent theatres in the Ruhr region and a year spent as a directing intern with Roberto Ciulli at the Theater an der Ruhr in Mülheim, she began the theatre directing course at the Folkwang University of the Arts Essen/ Bochum in 2010. In 2011 she received a stipendium from the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes. Her graduation production autopsie danton after ‘Danton’s Death’ by Georg Büchner was invited to the Körber-Studio Junge Regie in Hamburg in May 2014. She was a resident assistant director at the Maxim Gorki Theatre Berlin during the 2013/ 14 season and since the start of the 2014/15 season has been a member of the REGIEStudio at Schauspiel Frankfurt.

EDDY D’ARANJO currently studies Drama, Philosophy, Film Studies and History of Art at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. He has directed The Annunciation of Marie by Paul Claudel for ENS and was assistant director on Marié-Jose Malis’s production of Hyperion at the Avignon Festival 2014.  He is currently working on a production of Brecht’s The Measures Taken. Together with Jean Massé, he was nominated for PLAS by the Théâtre de la Colline, Paris.

ASAF HAMEÍRI was born in 1988 in Amirim, Israel. Studied fine art at the newARTschool Basel and the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts. He has worked as a freelance artist in Berlin and Leipzig. Exhibitions at the Okazi Gallery in Berlin. Represented at Art Miami 2014 by the gallery Artmosphere. Assisted René Pollesch and directed at P-14, Volksbühne Berlin, and later with his own company ZakZheater. Performances at Hebbel am Ufer and Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin. Student of theatre directing at Mozarteum Salzburg since 2014.

JEAN MASSÉ is an actor, musician and director. He currently studies Drama and History and Theory of Art at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. At ENS he has performed in Chekhov’s Three Sisters and the title roles in Macbeth and Freddie by Abilio Estevez. Together with Eddy D’aranjo, he was nominated for PLAS by the Théâtre de la Colline, Paris.

ZAFIRIS NIKITAS is a director and dramaturg from Greece. He studied law and theatre in Thessaloniki. His work focuses on constructing elliptical narratives, based on text fragments, body movement and energy choreography. His previous works include: Hamlet R.I.P. (an existential performance), BLUE (a nation-in-crisis performance) and Tsekof [sic] (an anti- Enlightenment spectacle). He was nominated for PLAS by the European Theatre Network Mitos21, and the organisation's Secretary General.





Dramaturgy, Project Leader: David Tushingham
Production Management: Stephan Pfister 
Concept: Christoph Lepschy & Amélie Niermeyer 
Performers: Student actors and dancers from 2nd and 3rd year 



14. März 2015, 17:00 Uhr Premiere

15. März 2015, 17:00 Uhr