By touch through the bowels of the theater

Night in the Barents Sea: Blindfolded theatre experience

Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam, 14 februari 2004

Part 1:
You undergo a medical examination and are interrogated.

Part 2:
You are called and walk through the long corridors backstage at the Stadsschouwburg. The people you meet speak Russian. They stop and warn you of the dangers of the deep sea.

Part 3:
Suddenly you are blindfolded, picked up and carried away to a very small room. It is deathly quiet; the smell of engine oil.

Part 4:
Someone leads you by the hand speaking soothing words and, feeling your way, you travel via lift, corridors and stairs, and enter spaces where you hear personal testimonies from crewmembers of submarine the Koersk, stuck at the bottom of the Barentszzee. In the distance you hear the sound of music, an engine drones, the air is damp and smells of diesel and boiled cabbage.

Part 5:
You are swept away to a comfortable soft chair. When your blindfold is removed it is still dark. You see projections of fleeting memories, and hear the sound of brass players and a female choir resound through the space.

Part 6:
Back in the warm foyers you are offered a cup of tea. Sometimes you are approached by a Russian wife or mother who shares her grief with you.