October 2-15, 2011 @ Steirischer Herbst, Graz, Austria

As a theatre-maker, Jan Ritsema has devoted himself almost obsessively to the task of undermining the familiar territories and conventions of theatre. Radically he asks about artistic risk on stage, confronting us fundamentally with what is really at stake when we come together in the theatre.
Although the title “Shakespeare’s As You Like It, A Body Part” refers to one of the most famous self-reflective dramas of theatre history, in other respects the play goes its own, rather unpredictable way. The cast list itself is remarkable. Fourteen very individual artists from twelve countries – including a number of familiar faces in different constellations at steirischer herbst – have joined forces for this project under the self-organised artists centre PAF (Performing Arts Forum) initiated by Ritsema. The aim is not to rely on what every individual has already proven many times over with his or her art. Rather, to resist all obvious solutions of interpretation and directing. How can decisions in such a process of development be made not hierarchically, not pragmatically, not product oriented? How can the relationship between artists and spectators be redefined, as a common experience and thought, not as an imposition of will? The question is precisely not whether fourteen cooks spoil the broth, but rather what is it that only these fourteen cooks can do. Certainly not something that we can easily recognise as theatre. And yet that is exactly what it is.

Commissioned by steirischer herbst & part of the “Agora Project”
Produced by vzw Avec Jan Jib Co (Brussels) & Performing Arts Forum / PAF (St. Erme)
Supported by Culture and Education subsidy programme of the European Community
Subsidised by the Allianz Kulturstiftung