A quick alert to any friends or followers in or near Rotterdam this weekend: I’ll be participating in a series of dialogs supporting The Humans, a piece of theatrical performance art sponsored by and shown at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art. The production, which will encompass a series of symposia with the process of writing and design, culminating in the play itself to be staged next Spring. It has arisen from the correspondence between artist Alexandre Singh and Defne Ayas, the new director of the Witte de With:
Set before the Earth’s beginning in a proto-world populated by spirits, gods, artisans and men of clay and plaster, The Humans — with ‘creation’ as its central theme — is modelled after the ancient Greek plays of Aristophanes. Whilst the theatrical references are ancient, the satire is utterly modern: religion, morality and human hubris are all mocked with an irreverent and biting tone.
Beyond this rather ambitious setup, I don’t know much about it. But this weekend I hope to learn more: Saturday, I’ll be on stage, talking with Singh about cosmology, in the first of a series of “Causeries”, this one with the daunting title “The Creation: On Cosmogony and Cosmology” — the other participants are philosophers and historians, and I’m looking forward to seeing whether there is a common thread through the different discussions, and how (or if) they reflect back on the eventual play itself.