Reformation9 is a 60 minute long interactive performance. It is a show about freedom and responsibility, about power and control; a show about Europe, and about revolution.
It is also a show built around falsehood. To the public the show is billed as being performed by a cult European performance duo called Luther & Bockelson – a pair of apparently legendary yet incredibly mysterious German artists and iconoclasts. The show is described as a ‘rebellion party in a European style’ and audiences are told to prepare for the unexpected.
In reality however, Luther & Bockelson are an entirely imaginary European performance duo, named after two of the most famous figures of the protestant reformation, and the ‘show proper’ is never going to arrive.
This project was born out of a period of research into audience participation carried out as part of the Jerwood Choreographic Research Project with the choreographer Mamoru Iriguchi. We were fascinated by the politics of being part of an audience – the way in which we wordlessly negotiate a shared experience of the performance. We were interested in trying to create a performance in which the audience were free to explore what it means to be an audience. We wanted to invite the audience to create something together – something that might be messy, chaotic and discordant but might also contain moments of serendipity, spontaneity and extraordinary, unforeseen beauty. We wanted to create a space full of possibility, in which the audience can imagine new relationships to each other and the world around them.
Within this context the language of rebellion and revolution that surrounds the show is intended to encourage the audience to consider what relationship these tiny acts of agency and freedom in the theatre might have to a longer, larger history of collective action and popular resistance. A group of people gathering at a particular time in a particular place to make something happen together is even today still a powerful action. This show is an attempt to playfully explore that power in all its messy complexity.
I’m not sure I ever really believed in unreviewable theatre until now but, if such a thing exists, Reformation 9 is it.
– Megan Vaughan