Western Society

Gob Squad

2023/24 Theater Performance

In the beginning, the gods gave us liberty. In the end, we discovered cheating… (Sheila Heti)

No one is where they are. They are talking to someone miles away. I miss them. But they are missing out. (Sherry Turkle in Alone Together)

With “Western Society”, Gob Squad presents a social portrait of the 21st century – a frame through which we look into the living room of a strange family and recognize ourselves. Gob Squad have discovered an overlooked video in the vastness of the internet: a waste product of our civilization. Images from a living room. A family celebration somewhere on the edge of the western world. An unspectacular party. A room full of people from different generations: Family, friends or strangers, united in front of a karaoke machine, alone together.

Gob Squad attempts to bring this small moment of preserved history – completely immersed in gold – back to life with the help of the audience, making the reconstructed image the starting point of their performance and the continuation of personal stories. Alongside the performers of Gob Squad, audience members randomly take on a role in “Western Society” to become part of the moving image, which is repeatedly constructed and deconstructed. The performers’ attempt to reinterpret, pause and intervene becomes a process of working through an image of society, while the seemingly endless party around them simply continues. “Western Society” is inviting and isolating, nightmare and social utopia, heaven and hell: too real, too artificial, too familiar and too strange at the same time. A machine that is kept running – with or without us.

Eleven years after its creation and successful international touring, “Western Society” is more relevant than ever. The party always goes on somewhere. And everyone is there: young and old and everyone in between. And if you’re lucky, you’ll be there too…

Duration: ca. 1 h 45 min without an intermission
Language: English, German

Following the performance on the 26.04. an audience development will take place. 

Gob Squad is a British-German collective from Berlin that has been collaborating on live performances at the intersection of theater, art and media since 1994. In search of beauty and relevance in the everyday, they place their works both in theaters and in the midst of urban life. Utopian scenarios meet the reality of a concrete situation, the outcome of which is often uncertain. By creating alternative meeting spaces and formats, Gob Squad has been contributing to breaking down interpersonal barriers since their beginnings.  

gobsquad.com

Concept: Gob Squad
Performed and devised by: Johanna Freiburg, Sean Patten, Damian Rebgetz, Tatiana Saphir, Sharon Smith, Berit Stumpf, Sarah Thom, Bastian Trost, Simon Will (cast changes with every performance)
Current cast: Berit Stumpf,  Johanna Freiburg, Bastian Trost, Simon Will 
Video Design: Miles Chalcraft
Sound Design: Jeff McGrory
Live Sound Mix: Torsten Schwarzbach
Technical Coordinator and Lighting Design: Chris Umney, Max Wegner
Costume Realisation: Emma Cattell & Kerstin Honeit
Set Design Realisation: Lena Mody
Dramaturgy and Production Management: Christina Runge
Artistic Support: Mat Hand, Zrenner
Interns: Sarah Sarina Rommedahl & Sophie Galibert
Gob Squad Management Team:
Company Manager:
Marta Hewelt
Funding & Financial Planning: Caroline Gentz
Financial Administration & Production: Grischa Schwiegk
Touring & Public Relations: Talea Schuré

“Western Society” was originally commissioned by and developed with support from Center Theatre Group, Michael Ritchie, Artistic Director, Los Angeles, CA. The World Premiere Production of “ Western Society” was originally produced by HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin, Spielart Festival Munich and brut Vienna. A House on Fire co-production; with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union. With financial support from the Kulturverwaltung Berlin.

Gob Squad is regularly funded within the Konzeptförderung programme 2024 – 2027 by the Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Gesellschaftlichen Zusammenhalt Berlin.