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Saara Autere

Verdrängen Verdrängen Verdrängen

Oblivia celebrates its 20th anniversary with performance Verdrängen Verdrängen Verdrängen an experimental experimental  music theatre performance about feelings, memories and repression.

It explores the collective European subconscious and the human mind, and delves into shared memories and experiences. The performance revolves around different meanings and interpretations of the German word “verdrängen”. The word can mean rejection, abandonment or displacement.

The performance takes place in a world where the familiar becomes unfamiliar, where the uncanny is the new norm, and where ghosts and aliens move freely. From schlagers to contemporary music, the work has been created in collaboration with the young, talented composer, Yiran Zhao.

We were thinking of ghosts, cellars and attics. We were thinking about all the emotions, people, and uncomfortable things that we push away and put into deep boxes to forget them forever. Just when you are desperately trying to eliminate discomfort from your life, there it is: popping up, returning from the murky realms that nightmares are made of. Just when you sigh of relief: never again.

We were thinking about the importance of home, and chopped up the German word Heimat (homeland) and found ourselves looking at a post-Heimat time. The word is associated with stale nationalism, but it also describes the need to belong. There is a fundamental need to be accepted and seen, and of course, the birthplace for this need is in the family. 

It has been liberating to make the performance and work with emotions, more than ever, yet what you will see is also the format for suppression. We also found the Oblivia motto “facing the unknown”. In the performance, we encounter unimaginable whims and surprises of the mind. For what is the mind and the body, if not the basis of humanity?

Annika Tudeer, Oblivia’s performer and artistic director

(…) a paraphrase of dreams, fears, and memories, also of that which defines art, and it is virtuosic how those three performers subsume this into short speaking passages, into gestures and movements. (…) Composer Yiran Zhao fills the void spaces with electronic sound – tones, rhythms, and actions mirroring each other.

Susanne Benda, Stuttgarter Nachrichten


Working Group
Performers: Alice Ferl, Timo Fredriksson, Annika Tudeer
Devising: Alice Ferl, Timo Fredriksson, Anna–Maija Terävä, Annika Tudeer
Performance dramaturgy: Anna-Maija Terävä
Light design: Meri Ekola
Costume design: Tua Helve
Composition, sound design, and live electronic: Yiran Zhao
Songs and vocal work: Alice Ferl, Timo Fredriksson, Anna-Maija Terävä and Annika Tudeer
Production: Oblivia/ Jenny Nordlund in collaboration with RÖD/ Katja Tolonen and Jenni Salminen and ehrliche arbeit/ Elena Polzer

Theater Rampe, Stuttgart (DE), ECLAT new music festival Stuttgart (DE), ARGEkultur Salzburg (AT), Espoon Kaupunginteatteri (FI), Tampereen Työväen Teatteri (FI) 

Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Helsinki City, Konstsamfundet, Stiftelsen Tre Smeder, Svenska kulturfonden, TINFO – Theatre Info Finland/ MOTI funded by The Finnish Cultural Foundation, Goethe-Institut Finnland; das NATIONALE PERFORMANCE NETZ Koproduktionsförderung Tanz, gefördert von der Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien; i-Portunus.

Light Box, Detroit

Premiere | 7th of February 2020, ECLAT Festival at Theater Rampe, Stuttgart