Campus Life

Theatre of the extreme comes to campus

If you like theatre or paintings that are extremely physical, ironic and wordless, this could be the show for you.
Body Fragments, by Germany's Theaterlabor, is a high voltage performance inspired by the works of Anglo-Irish painter Francis Bacon. Body Fragments appears in the David Spinks Theatre, Jan. 12-13, 8 p.m. nightly, as part of the Now Showing Live Arts series.
Commissioned by the 2005 Venice Biennale, Body Fragments has toured dance and theatre festivals in Germany, Serbia, Czech Republic and Poland, and was awarded a prize for Most Innovative Performance at the 2007 Novi Sad festival in Serbia.
To create the Body Fragments performance, Theaterlabor explored the work of the painter Francis Bacon, who was noted for his unsettling presentation of the human body. The primary motifs in his paintings — a critical attitude toward the institutional church and a preoccupation with homosexuality — are infused with irony. Dynamic snapshots of movement, posture and attitude inspire the actors to extreme feats of expression.
"In this production, Theaterlabor has created an aesthetic language that mimics the alienating effects of Bacon's paintings," says Lisa Doolittle, the curator of Now Showing Live Arts.
Theaterlabor is a 24-year-old ensemble-based performance creation company based in Bielefeld, Germany. Operating independently of Germany's state-mandated theatre system, Theaterlabor has built and maintains its own venue, creates and tours new work on an ongoing basis, and hosts an annual festival of interdisciplinary performance, Festival 360˚. This is the company's first tour in Canada and is organized by Calgary's One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre.
"Body Fragments is an outstanding event for Lethbridge audiences and local visual and performing artists," says Doolittle. "The distinctively European flavour of both the company and performance is unusual, and it is not often that Canadian audiences are exposed to such physically-oriented, non-text based creation theatre."
In addition to the performances, the actor-creators of Theaterlabor will present a public talk about their work, Monday, Jan. 12, noon in the University Recital Hall. They will also conduct an open workshop in W420 on Tuesday, Jan. 13 from 1:40 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.
Tickets for Body Fragments are $20 regular and $15 for students, and are available at the U of L Box Office, 403-329-2616. A complimentary shuttle bus transports patrons from the north parking lot to the theatre entrance.
In Lethbridge, Body Fragments is supported by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Post-Secondary program, the Dept. of Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Goethe-Institut Toronto, presenter of the latest arts & ideas from Germany. Visit for upcoming cultural events.