The start of a new week begins with a trip to Augsburg to meet our partners from Kaiser Showtechnik. We discuss important details for this year’s opening show Nobody but a princess… at the H.C. Andersen Festivals in Odense, Denmark. The production will take place within a gigantic domed stage with artists from Odense mixed with performers from the phase7 network. We are expecting approximately 70,000 viewers during the six show run. The trip to Augsburg is to verify points about the giant kinetic light sculpture, a highlight of the performance. Our light designer Björn Hermann and I are testing the movement and programming of the light tubes. Everything looks very promising.
This morning I have a Skype call with our partners from Budapest University. We are talking about the programming of drone formations for our next big open air production in Taiwan in October 2018. One of the main questions in our work is how one produces emotions with high technology. How can the act of watching a swarm of drones give rise to emotions like joy, inspiration and euphoria? This year our Hungarian partners will once again supply us with a 3D visualisation of 35 pyro-drones for the opening show of National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts (Weiwuying). The opening will feature some very special surprises: we need to ship the pyrotechnics from the US to Taiwan because we are not permitted to store pyrotechnics in Taiwan – who would have thought? Details like this are fascinating to me.
We have an appointment with our lawyer this morning to notarise some of the documents needed for our next new task: European Capital of Culture Plovdiv 2019 in Bulgaria, for which we are preparing the opening ceremony to celebrate the cultural and social diversity of the city. A lot of paperwork comes with this job and it all has to be taken care of – there is a hell of a lot to do! I am in the possession of an EU certificated signature now, which will be quite important in the future. It’s a crazy 38° today.
I head directly from this meeting to the Futurium in Berlin to meet up with Dr Kristin Wömmel to discuss and share ideas on how we could use the area, especially the exhibition rooms, for possible collaborations. Opening in spring 2019, the Futurium is an exhibition house that proposes possible futures of society and is of much interest to us at phase7. Note to myself: we should keep an eye on this place, a lot of cool stuff will be happening there in the years to come.
Today I meet up with the acrobats The Funky Monkeys at rehearsals for Nobody but a princess… We are meeting in our rehearsal studio in Berlin. The pole is installed and we are talking about the fine-tuning of the choreography today. Some adjustments are made, so the rehearsals can proceed tomorrow. The acrobats have practised well in advance and everything seems to work just fine. The summer heat has challenged all of us during practice. They will come back tomorrow at 10.15am to add the final touches to their performances. I’m looking forward to it.
My Friday starts on a Skype call with a choreographer from Taiwan. At the opening ceremony for National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts (Weiwuying), we plan to have interactive beamlight-laser choreography. For this, the dancers will be holding mirrors in their hands as they interact with beamlights in front of them. This will have the effect of redirecting the light and sending it in all directions, in essence it will be a joint performance between technology and humans. During our Skype call we discuss the movements of the dancers and the mirrors in order to create a stunning light performance. In the afternoon, we meet in the Hafenküche, which has proven itself to be a nice extension to the office, as it is located by our building and close to the water.
We leave for Odense next Wednesday so our Saturday is spent preparing cameras, testing the equipment, and programming the show. The production comprises two newly written pop-rock songs for the lead female and male vocalists: we are making the final adjustments. The voiceovers are being arranged as the equipment is being prepared in our storage room next door. Fortunately, we have all our offices, rehearsal spaces and storage spaces combined, which makes things easier for us.
Sunday is usually a private day for me. I have time for my own little house building project – tearing down walls can be really soothing sometimes. The summer may be drawing to an end but for phase7, with all the events starting over the coming weeks, it is only just beginning.
Sven Sören Beyer is a stage director, choreographer and the artistic director and founder of phase7 performing.arts. After directing and choreographing at German theatres and opera houses with phase7, he opened his own company in 1999 and quickly established himself as one of Germany’s best-known media artists and stage directors.