The Alien, a Theatre Play by Matti Braun

The Alien, a Theatre Play by Matti Braun

Project Arts Centre

August 22, 2005

The Alien
A Theatre Play by Matti Braun

Performances September 1/2/3 at 8pm

The Space Upstairs
Project 30 East Essex Street Dublin 2
Admission Free
Booking 353 1 8819613/13
Info [​at​]

For three nights only in September, the visual arts programme at Project will present The Alien by Matti Braun, a production that combines visual art and theatre disciplines in the staging of a version of the unrealised screenplay by Indian film director Satyajit Ray. This play forms part of a series of events running through August and September at Project that work with the idea of the cosmopolitan in India and includes a programme of film screenings and an exhibition by NS Harsha (India) and Heather Allen (Ireland).
The Alien will be performed as series of theatrical tableaux on the main stage at Project with choreographed dance sequences, music from an electric Kantele player, with costumes and set designed by the artist. A group of volunteers of different ages and backgrounds, including artists, staff members and children, will act the parts. The story recounts how an extraterrestrial being crash-lands into a lotus pond in a small Bengali village where its space ship sinks beneath the lotus leaves. The action then follows the response of the villagers and in particular those of a young boy who befriends the alien – much like the child in Spielbergs E.T.

Satyajit Ray was never able to realise The Alien as a film, even though he took the idea to Hollywood and came close to getting it produced with a cast that would have included Marlon Brando and Peter Sellers. Today, Matti Braun whose interest in the piece comes from his research into connections between India and the West is reinterpreting the script, first as a gallery installation and now as a fully blown theatre piece. Brauns work often functions as a counterpoint to mainstream history, producing a space in which objects, environments and images tell stories of cultural transaction. Individual personalities (such as Ray) feature strongly in this account, becoming the magnetic pole around which aggregate and eclectic phenomena converge. Similarly in Rays script for The Alien rural traditions, future technologies, modern science and science fiction come together in an unlikely fashion.

Matti Braun lives and works in Cologne. Solo exhibitions by the artist include Bunta Garbo at the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, R..T. at the Showroom, London and S.R. at the Kunstverein Freiburg. Recent group exhibitions include Love me or leave me, at Kiasma, Helsinki, Rhinegold: Art from Cologne, at Tate Liverpool and Tracer, at Witte de With, Centre for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam. Matti Braun is represented by BQ in Cologne and Esther Schipper in Berlin.
Film Programme
A film programme provides a background for the other projects. It includes two films by Satyajit Ray – Home and The World (adapted form the novel by Tagore) and The Inner Eye, a documentary portrait of the artist Binodbihari Mukherjee. The events described in Home and the World take place in 1905, and touch on the problem of inter communal tensions between Hindu and Muslim communities. Coming up to date, one of Indias most respected contemporary filmmakers Madhushree Dutta, specifically addresses this issue in her film I live in Behrampada, documenting an area of Mumbai directly effected by the inter communal rioting of 1992/93. Another film from Dutta, Sundari: An Actor Prepares, addressing a very different subject, is set in the theatre and documents Anuradha Kapurs biographical account of the actor Jaishankar Sundari who at the turn of the 20th Century, performed on the stage as a woman. The Indian painters Nilima Sheikh and Bhupen Khakkar designed the sets for this production and it is interesting to see how in this context, the different disciplines of theatre, documentary filmmaking and visual art are combined to create a new idiom. The final two films in the programme present a picture of the Anglo-Indian community who stayed on in India after independence. Aparna Sens film 36 Chowringhee Lane tells the story of an Anglo Indian school teacher living in Calcutta while Ayisha Abrahams Film Tales edits together archival footage from an amateur Anglo -Indian filmmaker, and juxtaposing this with a soundtrack provided by the artist.

The film programme is selected by Suman and Gopinath and Grant Watson who have an ongoing curatorial collaboration, working with contemporary Indian art.
The Alien is a project by Matti Braun, initiated by The Showroom, London and developed collaboratively by Project, The Showroom and If I Cant Dance, I Dont Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution Festival a/d Werf, Utrecht Theaterfestival Boulevard, Den Bosch de Veenfabriek, Leiden. The Alien is supported by the IFA and the Kunststiftung NRW

The exhibition by NS Harsha and Heather Allen is a joint commission with the British Council

For Further Information , please contact

Aisling Mc Grane
Project Arts Centre
Tel: 353 1 881 9608

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