Mund-Stück / Mouth Piece
Ant Hampton & Rita Pauls (Heidelberg/Buenos Aires) / Artists in Residence
Ant Hampton and Rita Pauls travel by train, bus and foot to the centre of Germany (according to where the pin drops on their maps programme) and, starting from there, hitch-hike randomly across Germany for a week. Using the only German they’ve learnt, they ask a question to those who pick them up — “What do you feel needs to be said?” — and explain that they’d like to record the answer, and then learn it by heart, as a way of assimilating and learning the language. The German people they encounter are driving, thinking and speaking all at once, and often struggle to find the right words to convey their thoughts and convictions.
After the trip, Ant and Rita spend several months learning by heart an edit of those recordings. As they begin to understand the words, a different understanding emerges of the people they met. The utterances are such a mix — melancholy, funny, lost, obscene, caring, despondent, defiant ...
In ‘Mouth Piece’, those words and voices re-emerge from Ant and Rita’s mouths together with all thinking sounds, hesitations and breaths. They speak together in sync, trying (and failing) to control their bodies’ reaction to this flow of new phonemes, vocal gymnastics and opinions. And they use the words they’ve learnt to formulate responses.
Both artists have an ongoing and evolving association with the country. Rita has a German passport via her great-grandparents, Berliners fleeing Nazism and arriving in Argentina in the 30s. Ant now lives in Germany with a German partner and seeks a German passport for reasons both personal and political. ‘Mouth Piece’ experiments with the process of assimilation; what it means to open up to and absorb a culture, and how that process can hold up a mirror to the culture itself.
Premiere on February 14, 2019
ca. 1:10, no break
Production management: Livia Andrea Piazza
Transcription and Translation: Anna Galt, Britt Hatzius
A production by Ant Hampton and Rita Pauls in co-production with Schauspiel Leipzig, Theater Rampe Stuttgart, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm Frankfurt/Main, NFT – Netzwerk Freier Theater.