Figur und Klang im Raum ("Figures and Sound in Space")

a polyphonic composition in scenes for the stage by J.U.Lensing

Based on Oskar Schlemmer's "systematic stage essays" from the 1920's, the Theater der Klaenge set itself to work on Figurund Klang im Raum, a theatrical research project which concerns itself with the "laws of the stage": Representation, Space and Sound.

Oskar Shlemmer had engaged himself, particularly in the years from 1925 to 1928 at the Dessau Bauhaus, in a systematic "grammar of formal stage elements", which led to several "small dances". Despite the fact that most of Schlemmer's pieces were written to music, a systematic exploration of the element of Sound in (the theater) space had been forgone, since no composer was found to collaborate with, and Schlemmer was himself neither a composer, nor a director specialized in speech.

The Theater der Klaenge concerned itself at first with Oskar Schlemmer's theory of "people and figures in space", and partially adopted for itself the results of this theatrical research. Parallel to that was integrated a pre-drafted electronic installation of microphones, light barriers and ultra-sound sensors, which the composer Thomas Neuhaus had designed for Theater der Klaenge during the rehearsal process. This installation allowed direct control of electronic music and light through sound and movement occurrences on stage, therefore through the actors themselves.

The goal of this exploration was a polyphonic composition in scenes for the stage, which would reflect on the theme "figures, sound and movement in space", and would render it performable. Incentive to this work was on the one hand the necessity felt by the ensemble, that Oskar Schlemmer's work be not left as a mere piece of history, but pushed further; on the other hand however, the need for the ensemble to find its own contemporary way with theater, consistent with the Bauhaus- Stagework tradition.

By "Polyphonic composition in scenes for the stage", is meant the arrangement in time of multilayer happenings in the theater space. The most different theatrical elements such as light, sound, movement, color, gesture and mime are first understood as individual parameters, then so related to eachother in the composition, that the sum of the parameters creates the theatrical event in time. In this context , Joerg Lensing and Thomas Neuhaus have also defined the notion of an "integrative theater".
The piece came into creation also as a collaboration with the Dessau Bauhaus. It proved itself to be so cumbersome in the rehearsal process, particularly because of the immense technical layout, that the Theater der Klaenge chose not to continue on the same path after 1993, but to turn itself instead to more "traditional" theater mediums.

Nevertheless, "Figur und Klang im Raum" lived to see 32 performances to date in 8 cities, both home and abroad, and is since 1994, combined in a reworked version with the "mechanischen Ballett" (the "Mechanical Ballet"), an integral part of the double program "Tanz am Bauhaus" ("Dance at the Bauhaus"), which also toured in Belgium, France and Israel in 1994.

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