on: “notallthatwonderarelost”-technical preparations, Hebbel am Ufer theater, Berlin, 08-09 October 2015

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Witty poetry, playfulness and a sense for good timing- all are parts of in Benjamin Verdonck’s performative installation “notallthatwonderarelast” staged at Hebbel am Ufer theater between 08-10th October. Starting up early in the morning of the premiere, I witnessed the show’s technical preparations. Benjamin Verdonck’s triangle propeller machine- a machine that gives motility to variously sized cardboard triangles- was set in the middle of the scene with the help of Benjamin’s two assistants and HAU’s own technicians. Lights were arranged, the sound tested and later on Benjamin himself gave the machine a try and made his actor’s warm-up. Next day I came again to see how they rearange the machine’s complicated thrades. I will draw here necessary and unnecessary details of all this work.

Partners in this reportage: Benjamin Verdonck, actor and artist, HAU. A thank you to Iwan Van Vlierberghe, Sven Roofthooft and all the HAU employees that made this reportage possible.

1. Day of the premiere

From HAU’s former productions, ready to be taken out and the first think I laid my eyes on- some racks with hanging spotlights:


The racks’ many wheels, formed a sort of a military arrangement:

Wheels contingent

Ready to start working, one technician gives a last check to his jacket:


In the technical booth, between hanging headphones and cables, some other technician’s hat:

Technicians hat

The machine will be built out of bits and pieces- always dissembled, always put back together. Here these pieces are brought in:


They are laid on the ground. One has a setback movement:

Placing a boardAttentively, a technician reviews his tool kit:

Tool box

And then proceeds in bringing everything together:


At one point, a pair of shoes appears among the scenic props:

Shoes on hold

In full work mode,  someone finds an expeditious way of handling tools:

Kicking a hammer

In order to fix some lights to the ceiling, a lift apparatus is being operated:

Up Up2

The sound technician makes a test:

Tapping the microphone

Someone in the back, with the electrical panel:


Once the main structure of the machine is set up, many of its mobile, gliding elements are being put in place:


The word pieces that will pop up during the performance form a senseless mass, so far:


But then they are are hanged up in a specific order:

Hanging poems

The workers are, literally, into the installation:


A sort of a black box/cabin stands behind, a technical core for some of the performance’s stunts:

Black box

The triangles appear and find their places- here is a colored one:

Triunghi portocaliu


They are controlled with the help of a thread, and kept in place by a hanging lead:

Hanging lead

On whole, the machine is ready:


Here comes Benjamin Verdonck to test it. I see him on all his fours, delicately maneuvering the threads:

fine calibration

And maneuvering:

Pulling the thrade

Verdonck’s assistants, with a piece of clothing:

Handing on a garment

Handing on

One of them is wearing an overall. I see him later on, standing in a cut-out little window:Salopeta

The other I see working with a tool, casting a shadow- now that the theatrical lights are on:

Technician's shadow

The artist checks on his stage outfit, handed on a hanger:

Passing outfit

One more adjustment:

Last moment adjustment

The set must be inspected from more than one angle:

From the audience point of view

And the artist’s warm-up:

Warm up

Minutes before the show, the stage receives a final retouch:


2. Next day

Threads and triangles in chaos from last night’s sow, the main move today is as follows:Procedeeings



Inspecting the triangles:

Cu triunghiul

Taking measures where necessary:


At this moment I noticed how one of the machine’s wood boards has traces of black. Benjamin tells me how their first intention was to paint the machine black:

Former intentions

One of HAU’s employees pays a visit, holding an envelope-or a dossier:

Employee with dossier

Benjamin Verdonck warms-up today by singing:

Getting into the right mood

In no time, everything is set:


Ready to use


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