By Heiner Muller
Translated by Mark Von Henning
An Other Hearts Production
in Association with Video Cabaret
Who will you be, and who will you be with, after the end?
Quartet is a play written by Heiner Muller, inspired by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos' Liasons Dangereuse. In a space that is equal parts “a drawing room before the French revolution/ an air raid shelter after WWIII”, two people remain: the Marquise de Merteuil (M) and the Vicomte de Valmont (V). Through a series of role-playing games they move fluidly across gender, age and identity, while the spectre of death, both inside and outside their private world, looms large.
In this new production, Other Hearts re-examines this work through the lens of kink, queer intimacy and contemporary crisis. We treat M and V as the last two survivors of an unnamed catastrophe, seeking to pass the endless hours through the fetishization of a world they never really knew. This fetish goes beyond Muller’s script to include 20th century pop music, comic books and pornography, explored through various interstitial scenes to create space around Muller’s infamously dense text. These games are colored by the wasted landscape outside, and by the wasting body of M, whose sickness becomes increasingly apparent as the work progresses.
Working with sculptor and costumer Eija Loponen-Stephenson, we construct a highly immersive set/installation out of plastic waste, kink culture and a live feed camera system. Their games of identity and desire are facilitated by a series of unique costumes, combining haute couture and the refuse of human civilization. The scenography (lighting, music and video) are all visibly run by the performers in their construction of a world forgotten. Immersing the audience in a bunker that is both baroque and bric-a-brac, this production invites you to consider the nature of identity and desire in the face of catastrophe.
Directed by: Harri Thomas
V: Sebastian Marziali
M: Silvae Mercedes
Costumes by: Eija Loponen Stephenson
Scenography by: Other Hearts
Produced by Yousef Kadoura
Co-Produced by: Aaron Rothermund
Assistant Director: Misha “Meek” Bauer