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MASS shows an odd, poetic landscape: a sort of moving milk‐white snowy carpet or a dance of thick clouds of mist that keep out the light. It might be the ‘state’ at the beginning of time, but there is no divine creator around. This matter moves independently and determines its own energy. We are witness to chemical and physical processes in which changes take place organically, by chance and without interruption.
MASS is the first part of ACTOR #1.
Kris Verdonck quite often combines his fascination with machines with images and concepts that owe a lot to science fiction. This certainly applies to tis three-part project (MASS, HUMINID, DANCER #3 + epilogue by Jean-Paul van Bendegem). ACTOR #1 is about evolving: about what has come into being, what is, and what may come into being. Three variations on the metamorphosis from chaos to order. The three parts of the performance are shown in separate rooms.
"Verdonck shows us how a machine can move us and how quickly we are able to give it human traits. ...] The three-part performance presents us with a serious concept, the question of creation. Verdonck does even more; with ACTOR #1 he opens a debate on stage that goes beyond our creation: is theatre without human beings possible? He visually expresses the full weight of the concept. The three "situations" he offers us are less fascinating than those of his apocalyptic END, but they are no less stimulating. And it all starts with stimulation. "
Sarah Vankersschaever in De Standaard, 19/01/2010
"Kris Verdonck reveals the limitations of man and machine in Actor #1 **** [...] To a certain extent, Actor #1 expresses the quest for a new kind of life; from the boiling gases of Mass, we move on to a half-living doll in Huminid or a robot in Dancer #3. After the latter, we are certain that we will never be able to access the "mental universe" of these machines or natural processes. We just observe them."
Pieter T'Jonck, De Morgen, 21 January 2010
Concept & direction: Kris Verdonck
Dramaturgy: Marianne Van Kerkhoven (Kaaitheater)
Performers (on film): Johan Leysen, Jean Paul Van Bendegem
Construction: Sylvain Spinoit, Atelier 26, Steven Blum
Software & Electronics: Félix Luque
Sound design: Thomas Turine
Video: Vincent Pinckaers
Light design: Luc Schaltin (Kaaitheater), Kris Verdonck
Production manager: Hendrik De Smedt
Production: Margarita Production for stilllab vzw
Technical coordination: Colin Legras
Coproducers: Kaaitheater (BE), Kunstencentrum Vooruit (BE), Buda Kunstencentrum (BE), Le manège.mons/CECN (BE), Transdigital/TechnocITé (BE)
Project initiated by: la chartreuse (FR) in the frame of its research on robots and theatre
Scientific research: Jean-Jacques Cassiman, Dirk De Ridder, Philippe Fraisse, Jean Paul Van Bendegem, Dirk Van Hulle
With the support of: the Flemish Authorities
Thanks to: Atelier 26, Acapella digital voice, Arne Vanneste, LIRMM (FR), Luc Steels