Thank you for your effort, even if these requests cannot be fulfilled

„It really became about us“: Ein Interview mit Rodrigo Garcia Alves und Liz Rosenfeld

Seit vier Jahren arbeiten Liz und Rodrigo nun schon an ihrer Performance Thank you for your effort, even if these requests cannot be fulfilled, die heute das Festival Coming of Age eröffnen wird. Samstag vor der Premiere durfte ich bei den Proben dabei sein – es ist der erste Durchlauf, der im Festsaal der Sophiensæle stattfindet. Die filmischen Projektionen bekomme ich noch nicht zu sehen, doch schon allein die sonderbar schöne Geräuschkulisse und die beiden aufeinander eingespielten Körper auf der Bühne schaffen eine Atmosphäre, die mich zwischendurch den Atem anhalten lässt. Nach vier anstrengenden Stunden sind Liz und Rodrigo sichtlich erschöpft, und doch finden die beiden noch die Zeit und Lust, sich mit mir über ihren Arbeitsprozess, ihre Freundschaft, das Sterben und die Liebe zu unterhalten.

© Falk Lörcher

You are both still in a rather early stage of your life. How did it come to your mind to deal with something that focuses on dying?

R: I think we both had experiences losing people close to us in an early age. Before there is a topic there is a reality, an experience. This interest to talk about it specifically came a lot throug our experience with our community.

L: In a way this is about death, but it is actually more about the time before that, more than anything else. The most beautiful thing about this was that it really became about us. Sure, the topic is there but it really became about two people who have this history together, who have been researching, and working with this topic for so long.

After such an intense two years of essentially physical isolation we were faced with what it means to touch each other again. So I think a lot of what happened is us showing the process of making the show. Which is a labour of love, heart love, deep love, queer love. Also frustration, and joy and all of the things that come into caring for somebody.

Was it hard for you to work on it?

L: Yes! It was really hard.

R: I have my own practice; Liz has her practice as well. And I think the hard part is really opening up that the practice of the other bleeds into your own. Because it touches some places that you don’t want to touch yourself, but it’s a negotiation here. And that’s sometimes hard. It’s confronting. Physically, emotionally, aesthetically.

L: We are also very inspired by each other’s practices. The easiest moments were creative.

Did working on the performance change your perspective on death and the process of dying?

L: No. What it actually did for me was that it made me really confront. Yes, there are elements of dying and death in there but there are also elements of trust. I was confronted more with something like “I have to trust this person to know that we are gonna get there together”, and that was a huge learning experience. In that sense that really reflects an experience of being the carer and being the one being cared for.

R: The show became about this labour of love, about our relationship, more than ever. It could have gotten stronger in death and dying, but no. It was the opposite process with us.

L: However, for me and my experience of being the caretaker of people dying I really felt that it’s there. It’s all there. Death is about the relationships we are having. Of course not everybody is privileged enough to have somebody taking care of them. But even that is about the labour of love, of keep going, just keep going, just keep going.

What made you change the title from “Hospice” to the current one?

R: I was reading this book which is called “Death Nesting: Ancient and Modern Death Doula Techniques” from Anne-Marie Kepple and in the very beginning of the book I read this “Make your lists” of what kind of set-up do you want in your process of dying. But not always leaving behind a lot of lists is the most effective thing. Make sure you always put a note thanking people for their efforts, even if these requests cannot be fulfilled.

What kind of audience do you wish for?

L: The image is that shit takes time. We are not in a rush. Care, dying, death sickness, it takes time. What I love is that we are taking our time. We work in the time of our bodies. I think I want an audience that can appreciate that or reflect through these long images and space.

R: I have a wish, which is not an audience with a majority of artists or people from the art scene. I think about how this can resonate with other scenes, other communities. When we were in Düsseldorf, we did the most beautiful show there, because it was such a nice …

L: … such an intergenerational crowd. It was beautiful.

R: And I think I wish a little bit of that.

Der Festival-Blog ist ein Projekt mit Studierenden des Sudiengangs Kultur- und Medienmanagement am Institut für Theaterwissenschaft der Freien Universität Berlin.