The old queen Ellib visited the plant Moorts for the last time:
“I have one last question. Tell me, what is the soul?”
“You will not believe it if I tell you,” Moorts answered.
Ellib insisted on an answer.
“The soul is the child you once were, which has never left you,” Moorts whispered.
From the Moranian Chronicles
On the poetic
„Everything is poetic, when its nature or character directs us to the poem”, wrote Georg Sulzer in his 1771 book The General Theory of Beautiful Art. The poem is distinct from everyday language. It aims for perfection and beauty, in its words and its form. Imagining theatre like a poem means condensing it into beauty. Unlike in drama, it is not pain and conflict which stand at the centre of our poetic notion of theatre, but reconciliation and hope, combined with a smile on the visitors’ faces. If they respond to the theatre with the comment, “that was beautiful!” this is often a way of expressing that the experience has done them good. “D joma anuar lolo ta,” the Moranians say: much suffering can be healed by beauty. Who wouldn’t want to believe them?
Poetic theatre is an attempt to use artistic means to counteract the world’s crudeness and create a space where a great many people have the possibility to encounter something sensitive and beautiful, and to let themselves be transformed by the experience.
A theatre of encounter
When theatre leaves the theatre, the position of the spectator has to be rethought with each new production concept. Theatre becomes an adventure for the theatre maker and for the audience – as in our walk-though theatrical worlds. Spectators become visitors. They do not remain on the outside; they take part in the action. They become travellers and can come very close to each theatrical station. This proximity allows the encounter between actors and visitors to acquire a new quality which classical theatre lacks, with its ‘fourth wall’ at the front of the stage. In our productions we create the opportunity for encounter; from a gaze, a smile, to a touch, or a shared performance. The unusual aspect is the non-exclusivity. With us there are no enclosed rooms; several thousand people can experience our theatrical installations each evening. They encounter our figures, decide themselves if they want to get close or remain at a distance, become involved in the performance or watch others getting involved. Anyone who is open to this can experience a whole new quality of theatre.
Theater Anu sees itself as part of the tradition of storytelling. We believe in the power of stories, but we are also aware that new stories are needed. Research by the American myth expert Joseph Campbell showed that in every part of the world myths follow the same basic model: the hero’s journey. These stories all fulfil(led) the same purpose: to initiate people into society, with its values and rules, and to prepare boys, in particular, for a life as a warrior. Even if Hollywood is continually producing hero stories, the vision of a peaceful world demands new models, which depart from the message, ‘life is a battle!’ It is time to initiate a poetic dramaturgy.