100% Norfolk // Interview with the Theatre Company
There’s a show that comes to the Theatre Royal for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival that demands explanation. Is it a play? Not really. Improvised? Not quite. It’s a show about the population of Norfolk… starring the population of Norfolk. They represent us. They come together on the stage as questions are asked about their habits, lives and beliefs in a live game show played by 100 players. With 100 Norfolk folk having been recruited for the show, our interest has piqued. We want to know more, and we ask ourselves who, or what are the people behind the show, Rimini Protokoll?
I am Rimini Protokoll (Helgard Haug, Stefan Kaegi, Daniel Wetzel). I’m 33,33% female, 66,33% male, aged 12 years from Germany/Switzerland and currently residing in Berlin. I live in 3 different households, 2x with one child each. I have 3 heads and 6 hands. This is why it is always hard to catch me. I was born as a label for the works of Helgard Haug, Stefan Kaegi and Daniel Wetzel. I produce theatre pieces, radio shows and work in the urban environment in a diverse variety of collaborative partnerships. Using research, auditions and conceptual processes, allowing what I call ‘Experts’ to find their unique voice. Some people call me documentary-theatre maker, but I more like to think of myself as somebody who constantly tries to expand the limits of what could be understood as theatre.
Tell me the story of how Rimini Protokoll began - how did you come to be?
I came to be when I already existed. After two years of collaboration, I was forced to be baptised - it was a deadline for a publication in the year 2001 and the comprehension that every being needs a name! As PROTOCOLS are of greater interest (we follow them, we research them, we write them) Rimini just sounded like a suitable first name! Amalgam or Apparat would have been other options, but that sounded too much like 80s.
If someone who does not work in theatre or the arts (perhaps, for example, a relative) asks you what Rimini Protokoll is, what do you tell them?
It is an elegant excuse to be very nosy, go closer and get to know more about people, societies and themes. We benefit from a very tight network of cultural institutions and other sources of federal and communal funding in Europe which allow us to use theatre as a platform for projects that very often feel more like research than rehearsing, more scientific or journalistic than artistic.
What does 'reality theatre' mean?
It's the risk you take when you say ‘I’ on stage and actually mean yourself.
What is your interest in doing the ongoing 100% project? How does it relate to what Rimini Protokoll likes to do?
Every city is special. And everybody is special. Yet when living in a city you're also being counted in many ways of surveys, polls and statistics. Up to now every city we've been doing this project with provided us, and the method, with new challenges and possibilities. It is maybe a typical Rimini Protokoll project as it's trying out something new.
So far, what has made 100% Norfolk different from the other 100% projects?
The people, of course.
What makes Rimini Protokoll unique?
We are theatre people that absolutely refrain from doing any form of warm up exercises.
If Rimini Protokoll was in the cast of 100% Norfolk, what object would you bring on-stage?
Some last-minute changes.
What does Rimini Protokoll do for a living?
Writing applications. Answering phone calls and emails. Giving interviews.
What kind of tic or habit does Rimini Protokoll have?
Rimini Protokoll tends to speak in multi-sense mode, as if it had 3 different brains at least. As a result it takes decisions on the basis of three different reasons at least.
What can Rimini Protokoll perform that others cannot?
We (hopefully) can convince 100 people to perform what the others cannot.
What question would Rimini Protokoll like to ask 100 people?
Do you know anybody who could connect us with companies that produce weapons? (It's about one of our upcoming projects with the working title gun factory)
What does Rimini Protokoll see when it looks out its window?
The sky over Berlin, Kreuzberg
Who is Rimini Protokoll's personal hero?
It's a performer with 200 arms, 100 minds and surely many doubts that have been convicted by curiosity, interest, openness and trust in unknown people.
100% Norfolk is showing at Norwich Theatre Royal on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th May, with performances at 7:30pm, and a 2:30pm matinee on Saturday. For tickets, go to www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk