Verdensteatret’s “And All the Question Marks Started to Sing” at DTW

And All the Questionmarks Started to Sing from Verdensteatret on Vimeo.
“Multi-disciplinary” is an over-used word, one that has been too readily slapped onto any staged work that manages to worm video into performance. The words “original” and “collaborative” are equally abused, but Norway’s Verdensteatret–a collective that creates works at the intersection of theater, visual art, and music–seems like the real deal on all accounts. We can determine this for ourselves February 24-27 at Dance Theater Workshop (tickets $20), when they perform their newest work, And All the Question Marks Started to Sing, courtesy of a partnership between DTW, PS122, and The FuturePerfect festival.

And All the Question Marks Started to Sing is the result of 16 collaborators from different professions coming together, which co-founder Lisbeth Bodd describes as a “slow, costly, and stupid way of working because everyone has to be there at once.” The year and a half spent developing this work has yielded an array of what they call “kinetic sculptures,” multi-functional, sensory machines that are manipulated by performers to produce sound, video, images, and music. 

And All the Question Marks Started to Sing work has been exhibited as a visual art installation by programming the machines to automatic settings, and also performed live. While this all sounds complex and high tech, the work has a retro flavor, courtesy of old celluloid film strips, cranked by hand, and a color palette that hearkens back to the early days of cinema. Bodd wants people “see the sound, listen to the images” and post-show, opens the stage to the audience: apparently she isn’t worried about breaking the spell or clumsy feet.

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