- Mademoiselle X
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“Air could not freeze her, fire could not burn her, water could not drown her, earth could not bury her”
Maria Metsalu’s upcoming research operates in the realm of the figure of Mademoiselle X (pseudonym given to his patient by French neurologist Jules Cotard, therefor known as Cotard’s syndrome) - a woman who, while being alive, is convinced that she is in fact dead. She has no brain, no nerves, no chest, no stomach, no intestines, being nothing more than a decomposing body. Despite of this she also believes that she is eternal and would live forever. Yet she is already dead. In this realm, everything could be possible and allowed, all is of a part of her and originates from her, forming a complex but uncomplicated system. Mademoiselle X is both the protagonist and the system she operates in, the original source of sound and light. Metsalu creates an almost all-inclusive and self-operating structure based on light, and music which together with scenography and movement can accommodate both chaos and its refusal. Complex systems are uncertain. It’s unfeasible to predict how they will exactly react regardless of whether or not we understand the nature of their individual parts. Still, they are hardly accidental.
Through the figure of Mademoiselle X who is not dead but not alive either, Metsalu explores similar ways of existing in the world - as living deads. Recognising her obsession with death, in this fictional realm Metsalu gives space to it, imagining her own death scenarios. In his book “Denial of death” anthropologist Ernest Becker refers to the constant terror over death as a situation where we all have emerged from nothing, we have a name, consciousness of self, deep inner feelings, and excruciating inner yearning for life and self-expression — and with having all this we still yet have to die. He speculates that the full experience of this human condition would drive us insane and would paralyse us. That’s why this great fear in us is repressed otherwise we wouldn’t be able to fully function in life.
Paradoxically, in her apparent numbness, Mademoiselle X is on a naive quest for intensity. “Mademoiselle X” is not a show about grief, even not necessarily a show about death but the opposite.
Concept: Maria Metsalu
Performance: Maria Metsalu
Stage design: Nikola Knezevic, Annina Machaz
Sound: Rodrigo Sobarzo de Larraechea
Programming: Enrique Arce Gutierrez
Co-producer: Kanuti Gildi SAAL
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