Presse – Combina


“A success at the Ruhrtriennale”
(Peter Michalzik, Theater heute, February 2016)

“An unpolished pearl like the early René Pollesch”
(Marcus Hladek, Frankfurter Neue Presse, 20.10.2015)

“In the Schwankhalle, Nir Shauloff and Jan Philipp Stange present a fascinating meta-theater that searches for new forms beyond classical drama. In an apparently loosely sketched, but in reality almost devilishly precise evening, the audience is repeatedly fooled. What has just been asserted must be doubted in the very next moment.”
(Rolf Stein, Bremer Kreiszeitung, 7.6.2017)

“Conclusively demonstrated and elevated beyond Brecht to a global metaphor for theater today.”
(Marcus Hladek, Frankfurter Neue Presse, 20.10.2015)

“A warm recommendation”
(Laura Linnenbaum, FAZ, 18.9.2015)

“In "Combina," the viewer gets to know a German-Israeli theater group that reports on its (supposedly) failed attempt to perform Bertolt Brecht's "Messingkauf" fragment. Instead of talking dialogues about Jewish history in Germany, the Holocaust or the German relationship to the Israeli settlement policy, the group performs in the here and now of the performance the concrete practice of an international artist project, which oscillates in content between the vision of a "theater of the future" and the failed acquisition of funding. The discourse on the connection between Germany and Israel is thus concretized in the example of the (working) relationship of the group around Nir Shauloff and Jan Philipp Stange in the common aesthetic and social practice of the performance, which pretends not to be one. In this way, the group succeeds in an extraordinarily intelligent and entertaining way in deceiving the expectations of the audience in all phases of the theater-going ritual (admission, beginning, direct address, interaction, applause), in order to transfer them into a state of heightened perception and pleasurable recognition. The evening extremely cleverly liquefies the subject of theater and its immediate execution by placing its makers, its objects, and its visitors back into a direct relationship with one another. Form and content are not only mutually dependent, but to a certain extent coincide. The claim to invent a new theater is thus not only the subject of the "brass purchase", but is courageously pursued by Shauloff/Stange consistently on all levels up to the final punch line. A grandiose open text that brings the audience back to the center of the theater work and turns them into emancipated spectators.“
(Matthias Frense, Ringlokschuppen Ruhr)

“With Israeli theater makers, Stange deals with a central theoretical but also scenic text by Bertolt Brecht, one of the most substantial explorations of 20th century theater. One of the highlights of the acclaimed performance was that no word of Brecht was used, but the entire hour and a half was about exactly his question. From Brecht's juxtaposition of brass as a metal that can be sold (the realist view) and brass as a material from which musical instruments can be made, at the end, as a kind of phoenix from the ashes, a large fire band marches in Stange's play and makes loud and decidedly traditional brass music on the very brass instruments that had become a metaphor. "The marching band is bigger than any of the questions," Stange says. "In the end, the theater wins.”
(Peter Michalzik, "In search of the text of our time", Radikal Jung Magazin 2017)

Combina, Ruhrtriennale, Mülheim, 2015

A grandiose, open text that brings the audience back to the center of theater work and turns them into emancipated spectators.

(Matthias Frense)

The starting point for the German-Israeli performance Combina is Bertolt Brecht’s Messingkauf fragment, in which theatre people discuss the conditions for making theatre with a philosopher with the help of a parable that uses the material value of a brass trumpet to ask about the benefit and possibilities of art. This guiding question about the conditions of theatre work is extended and applied to the premises of German-Israeli relations. German-Israeli policy aims for a stable consensus and thereby allows only few possibilities to question this inscrutable doctrine. But how can we create a space that allows for mistakes and disagreement? A space of friendship that is shaped by actual debate, far from official declarations of intent and anniversary speeches? The performance Combina enquires into a potential space for mistakes, for other histories, for failure. Combina opens itself up to internal dissent within the group and puts itself at stake, testing a form of friendship where failure is possible without the friendship itself failing.

Premieres on 15. and 16.9.15 at the Ruhrtriennale in the Ringlokschuppen Ruhr, further performances on 16. and 17.10.15 at studioNaxos, 2017 invited to the OutNow! festival in the Schwankhalle Bremen and to the Made-Festival in Marburg, where it recieved the audience award.

By Nir Shauloff und Jan Philipp Stange, dramaturg: Adi Chawin, philosopher: Heiko Stubenrauch, stage: Sagie Azoulay | photos by Christoph Sebastian With generous support from Ringlokschuppen Ruhr, the Ruhrtriennale, the HTA, studioNAXOS and the City of Frankfurt Department for Culture.

Combina Combina Combina
Combina Combina Combina