Stefanie Lorey (born in Bingen am Rhein in 1974) first studied in Cologne and then in Giessen, where she graduated in 2005 with a degree in theatre studies. Besides realizing her own works in the area of radio drama, theatre and performance, she assisted on a number of radio drama productions and on the premiere of Heiner Goebbel’s opera »Landscape with Distant Relatives« at the Grand Théâtre de Génève.
Bjoern Auftrag (born in Ruit auf den Fildern in 1973) first studied in Göttingen and Berlin, before beginning a degree in applied theatre studies in Giessen, where he graduated in 2005. As well as directing, he has worked and continues to work in sound design and audio production for a variety of dance and theatre productions, including for Stefan Kaegi and Saburo Teshigawara.
Six larger-than-life portraits of elderly people are projected onto the glass facade of the Schauspiel in Frankfurt. While the audience take their seats on small stools in front of the theatre, the skyscrapers behind us slowly sink into the darkness of the night. The faces appear to glow – they look down upon us from above, virtually motionless, creating a moment of silence and a feeling that this otherwise so bustling city has paused to take breath. We hear them speak through headphones, not knowing which voice belongs to which face. The voices tell us about a wedding party’s trip through post-war Frankfurt, when the city had been destroyed by bombs, and about a demonstration against neo-Nazis in a particular district of the city, and the way they are talking it is as if these bygone events were taking place this very moment. Right in the middle, yet without their being attributed to any specific person, each personal memory suddenly becomes a general and transferable statement. The interviewees bring the city’s history to life through their stories. They articulate experiences that make up the living fabric of a city. In their “Museum of the Moment”, as the installation by the Auftrag: Lorey director duo is entitled, memories and the present day coincide.
In their theatre works, Stefanie Lorey and Björn Auftrag search for the moment that changes everything, that gives life an unexpected twist, and for moments of lost control and of happiness that make one experience life in a particularly intensive way. The fabric from which stories are normally spun for theatre is also their fabric, it’s just that Auftrag: Lorey no longer look for the dramatic highpoints and turning points within the on-stage plot but in the biographies of the actors themselves. Their plays test out new translations for stories that involve the audience in what is happening in a different way. For them, theatre is a place where voices and bodies come together in the here and now and where language, sound, images and bodies connect in the heads of the spectators and listeners.
Björn Auftrag and Stefanie Lorey met in Giessen where they were both doing a degree in applied theatre studies, and have worked together since 2001. It is not bringing dramatic texts to the stage that is close to their hearts, but the search for other ways of creating theatre – theatre that does not claim to be a closed and finite world of art but one that immerses itself in reality in order to explore its dramatic potential. What is special about the way Auftrag: Lorey work is the fact that they submerge themselves in the thoughts of people, who they accept without question. Auftrag: Lorey communicate their trust in the people they work with and are curious about what people think, have to say or indeed call their lives. In doing so, the two directors sound out social sensitivities and current moods from which they assemble a picture from the individual elements, just like in a puzzle.
For “Standbild mit Randexistenzen” (i.e. Freeze-frame with fringe existences) for instance, their successful play that following its 2004 premiere at the Hebbel am Ufer in Berlin was also shown at the Kammerspiele in Munich and the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg, among other places, they seek out 30 people in whichever city the play is being performed in and give them one minute each to talk about whatever they want on stage. One man makes a declaration of love to a woman in the audience, someone recites a poem or tells a joke. Each of the speakers holds a lamp in their hand; when their allotted time to speak is up, they plug the lamp in and stand next to it. Auftrag: Lorey bring these people into the light, creating a group image so that a light goes on in our heads.
To mark the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of apartheid, they were commissioned in 2009 by the Goethe Institut Johannesburg to take a poll of South African society. At strategic sites around the city they handed out postcards on which people were asked to complete the sentence “I am afraid of….”. Fourteen speakers then read out the answers in a whisper. The recordings were subsequently distributed among thirty loudspeakers along the wall of the Goethe-Institut so that passers-by would experience a carpet of sounds which would change as they moved along and from which anyone could pick out individual voices to listen to. Auftrag: Lorey give others the chance to speak so that we can listen to them and learn something about them and about ourselves. Their theatre is an address and a statement at the same time.
2011, Schauspiel Frankfurt
[blank] (video and audio installations), Goethe - Institut Johannesburg - Oct. / Nov. 2009
Im Vorübergehen (i.e. In passing) (theatre production), Schauspielhaus Bochum - 08/09 season
Goethes Wunderkammer. Museum des Augenblicks (i.e. Goethe’s chamber of miracles. Museum of the Moment) (a mobile theatre room in cooperation with Das Helmi, raumlabor berlin and Jens Heitjohann), Schauspiel Frankfurt - Frankfurt a. M. August 2008
151 Meter über dem Meer. Selbstportrait einer Stadt (i.e. 151 metres above sea level. Self-portrait of a city) (theatre production), Rabenhof Theater, Wiener Festwochen – Vienna May 2007
Casa blanca / White House (research into the Venezuelan dream of the future), Festival Internacional de Teatro, Apartamentos X – Caracas April 2006
WMF. Wiedersehen macht Freude (i.e. WMF. Nice to see again) (spoken theatre for 12 actors and 12 spectators), Hebbel am Ufer – Berlin June 2005, republic , Salzburg Festspiele, Young Directors Project – Salzburg August 2007, Schauspiel Frankfurt - 07/08 season, Hebbel am Ufer - Berlin June 2008,
Seitenwechsel. Standbild mit Randbemerkungen (i.e. Changing sides. Freeze-frame with fringe comments) (performance), discourse, Festival of Young Performance Art – Giessen October 2004
Augen. Zeugen (i.e. Eye. Witnesses) (video installation for perforated facades), Hessische Theatertage – Giessen June 2004, Marktplatz – Giessen November 2005
Die Akte Berthild (i.e. The Berthild file) (staging of an apartment), Hebbel am Ufer, X apartments – Berlin June 2004
Standbild mit Randexistenzen (i.e. Freeze-frame with fringe existences) (performance), Hebbel am Ufer, 100° Festival des freien Theaters – Berlin January 2004, Mousonturm, Summer Academy – Frankfurt a. M. August 2004, Munich Kammerspiele, Glaubenskriege (i.e. Religious wars) – March 2005, Deutsches Schauspielhaus, go create™ resistance – Hamburg May 2005, Schauspiel Frankfurt, I will survive –Arche 2006 - February 2006, Teatr Maly, EC 47. Schattierungen der Politik (i.e. Shades of politics) – Warsaw April 2006, Schauspielhaus Zürich, re/location I: Sanatorium – May 2006, SaLog, Heimat. Eine Gemeinschaftsprojektion (i.e. Homeland. A joint projection) – Saalfeld August 2006, Stadttheater Giessen –June 2007, Kaserne Basel - September 2008
WYSIWYG Karambolage (i.e. WYSIWYG pile-up) (room installation), Staging of a hotel room door, Hessische Theatertage – Kassel June 2002, Staging of an apartment door, Theater der Welt, X apartments – Duisburg June 2002, Closure of a bridge, 20/30 – Searching for the sunken city of Lahn – Wetzlar August 2002