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Schrödinger, a unique theatrical event, comes to Luxembourg
Culture & Life

Schrödinger, a unique theatrical event, comes to Luxembourg

3 min. 18.05.2015 From our online archive
Inspired by the cat in the box that can be both dead and alive, the play Schrödinger explores how lies and truths can only exist side by side in a startling, engrossing and entertaining show that comes to Luxembourg on May 21 and 22.

by Erik Abbott

Originally, Mole Wetherell says, it was "a research question about truth and lies", and that "led us to quantum physics."

Wetherell, the Artistic Director of Reckless Sleepers, the Anglo-Belgian performance troupe was discussing their piece Schrödinger, which they bring to the Grand Théâtre for two shows on May 21 and 22. "With a lie," Wetherell continued, "a truth is in your head." That truth contradicts the lie being told—so two seemingly opposite states are in existence at the same time. The principle of co-existing opposite states seemed an obvious link to physicist Erwin Schrödinger.

The group developed the space of a giant box, reminiscent of Schrödinger’s hypothetical box which he theorised could contain a cat that was simultaneously dead and alive—the famous ‘Schrödinger’s Cat’. For his work Schrödinger won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933. In Reckless Sleepers’ work, the box became ‘a playground’ to develop the ideas they were exploring and which coalesced as the work they titled Schrödinger.

Dynamic revision of 1998 original

The piece was first performed in 1998 and became a signature work for the company. The version that will be seen by Luxembourg audiences is the result of a re-working that has been touring the last few years.

Wetherell says that Schrödinger was never really "put to bed", adding that he’d kept the set stored in his garage. "I didn’t think we’d done enough with it," he explains and he wanted to look at it again, to "fill some of the gaps." 

The revised version features an entirely different cast from the original, which Wetherell describes as "a group of people who really love working together." Wetherell is thrilled to be part of the communal joy the group brings to its craft. "I love doing this work," he says, "because I’m working with my friends."

The creative process the company uses produced, in the case of this revised version of Schrödinger, added texts the company wrote. The piece is now, in Wetherell’s view, "finished."

Magritte’s influence

Reckless Sleepers has garnered acclaim for their very physical and strikingly visual work. The art of Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte is frequently referenced (Wetherell says Magritte has "always been around" for them). The company’s name, which was also the title of their first production, is taken from Magritte’s The Reckless Sleeper - Le Dormeur téméraire - which now hangs in Tate Modern museum in London.

Wetherell says that the painting was the clearest way of explaining what the group was doing. Reviewers have repeatedly pointed out Magritte-like imagery in Schrödinger and Wetherell acknowledges that the painter’s works have served as source material.

Startling, original, immensely entertaining

It is a non-literal, often non-linear approach to performance. In Schrödinger, the giant box serves almost as a character—the "sixth performer". Wetherell explains that the work developed through what the box "brought" to the performers and what the performers brought to the box.

The result is an hour or so of theatre that is full of movement and energy, a performance that wrestles with the boundaries between order and chaos, between what is seen and what cannot be seen, a theatrical journey that "doesn’t have to be linear."

Most of all, it promises to be an engrossing and startling and immensely entertaining event. This visit is the first to Luxembourg by the company and it is clear that audiences are in for a rare and genuine treat.

When and Where

Schrödinger plays in the Grand Théâtre Studio Thursday, May 21, and Friday, May 22, at 8pm