Pleasant Island // Performance
English with German surtitles and Artist talk afterwards on 29.05.22!
British whalers. The island's history can almost be read as a parable of modern times: After the discovery of a huge phosphate reservoir, the small island state briefly belonged to one of the richest countries in the world. Every bit of land and every garden was dug up, right down to the last corner of the island - until the resources were completely exhausted. Within a short time, the island's population became impoverished. To generate state revenue, Nauru today interns refugees at Australia's behest.
Silke Huysmans and Hannes Dereere went on a research trip to Nauru for Pleasant Island. There they talked to residents and refugees. Due to the threat of repressive measures, they did without camera equipment and limited themselves to cell phones for the recording of interviews. The aesthetics of the smartphone also dominate the stage action. Its documentary immediacy points to the urgency of the situation: for the destroyed ecosystem of Naurus is a harbinger of an impending worldwide environmental catastrophe.
With Pleasant Island, Huysmans and Dereere continue their examination of the ecological and social consequences of the overexploitation of natural resources, which they began with the piece MiningStories. They intertwine conversations, analysis, and field research to create a striking polyphonic documentary theater piece.
By and with: Silke Huysmans & Hannes Dereere
Dramaturgy: Dries Douibi
Sound: Lieven Dousselaere
Technique: Anne Meeussen & Piet Depoortere
"So what is heard and seen at Pleasant Island has special documentary value. The performance presents a composition of the reconstruction of its genesis, the aesthetics of the smartphone medium used by the artist couple, and the appearance of Huysmans and Dereere as witnesses and mediators."
- Helmut Ploebst, Der Standard