BEYOND THE STAGE with Gob Squad: “Western Society”

Gob Squad portrait

Gob Squad’s Western Society runs at NYU Skirball Center from February 18-21. Always on the hunt for beauty in the midst of the mundane, the playful and ultra-intelligent Berlin and Nottingham-based Gob Squad creates provocative and interactive performances where theatre meets art, media and real life.

Seeing the performance is only half the fun, let us take you Beyond The Stage by sharing articles, interviews, reviews, videos, and more related to the production. Whether you are preparing to experience a performance or want to extend your understanding of the piece after the show, we hope you’ll keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below.

Discover
Artist’s Website: Gob Squad

Watch
The original YouTube video that inspired the the work of Western Society 

Read
Review: ‘Western Society,’ It’s a Selfie World After All (NY Times)
“A haunting, funny vision of a society…for sheer, audacious ambition, nothing tops the collective’s ‘Western Society.’ Unlike any other you’ll encounter this year.”— Ben Brantley, The New York Times, February 19, 2015

Review: Western Society: Theater review by Helen Shaw (Time Out NY)
Full of ‘delicious surprises’! ‘Gob Squad virgins, please stop reading now and GO GET YOUR TICKETS’! — Helen Shaw, February 19, 2015

Article: Reality Enchanted, Contact Mediated: A Story of Gob Squad (The Drama Review)
“In an artistic border zone between performance, theatre, film, video, and installation, Gob Squad—together with their audience—aims to create hyperrealistic effects that reflect and dismantle the powerful mechanisms and seduction strategies of a culture dominated by screens, cameras, and other forms of technological interface.”— Nina Tecklenburg, Reprinted courtesy of MIT Press Journals from TDR, Summer 2013, Volume 56, No. 2, pages 8-33

Article: Spectatorial Body in Multimedia Performance (PAJ, A Journal of Performance and Art)
A piece about artists/companies who investigate the relationship between artists & spectators, the article includes a section on another of Gob Squad’s works as well as a section on upcoming Visions + Voices: Germany artists, Rimini Protokoll. “What I found unusual in much of my performance selection was that in three of the four media-based works I attended in a row, Gob Squad’s Revolution Now!, Rimini Protokoll’s Best Before, and Dries Verhoeven’s Life Streaming, my body was somehow engaged explicitly within the work—not something I have come to expect in viewing multimedia performance.” Jennifer Parker-Starbuck, September 2011, Vol. 33, No. 3 (PAJ99), © 2011, pages 60-71

Article: In Tune With One Another (Exeunt Magazine)
“In this new show, they attempt to understand “western society” on a grand scale but instead end up exploring the personal emotional moments which the performers project upon the work.”— Nicole Serratore, February 18, 2015

Experience
Post-Show Discussion and Q&A February 20th
With members of Gob Squad
Moderated by Meiyin Wang, Director of the Devised Theater Initiative and Co-Director of the Under The Radar Festival at the Public Theater

Illustrated Lecture February 19th, 12:00-2:00pm
Welcome To Our World, Built With you In Mind
Hosted by the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics

An an intimate peek into the world of Gob Squad with an illustrated lecture given by members Bastian Trost and Simon Will. Gob Squad members shared with us an introduction to the group including how they got their start and an overview of their provocative and entertaining work over the past 20 years. The topic of the discussion was their use of a performance technique they call “Remote Acting”. They are interested in blurring the lines between spectator and performer by using real people (not formally trained actors) in the performance, usually by feeding lines and gestures through headphones that only the “actor” can hear. The result is a beautiful combination of improvisation and scripted work, ensemble collaboration, and in the moment raw emotion.

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