Response to SHIT ISLAND

A selection of reviews from print and online.

+++An evening of theatre like a rollercoaster ride.+++

Cologne Review

"...the latest production of the theatre collective Futur3, in which the ensemble explores the tense relationship between Western exotic longing and imperialism. With SHIT ISLAND, Futur3 has succeeded in creating a theatrical rollercoaster ride between laughter and horror that is well worth seeing. The premiere audience gave it long-lasting applause."
[Kölner Rundschau, 22.11.17 "This Wealth Stinks to Heaven" by B. Krebs]


"SHIT ISLAND uses a collage-like media mix bursting with fine ideas and proves that theatre can also be part of a social discourse without a raised finger.
What is special is on the one hand the text, which is based on authentic documents and represents a tremendous research achievement. What is also unique in this dimension and quality is the mix of media used by director André Erlen and his talented team. The live broadcasts, drawings, sounds and music, the intermedia play with camera and authenticity, all these are well-portioned, very sophisticated ideas that - and this is rare - neither distract nor come across as gimmicky, but support and enrich the story.
The result is a history of the island in various episodes that makes a contribution to anti-imperialist discourse in an entertaining, sometimes amusing way, criticising existing conditions without raising a moralising finger. And above all: without showing a single picture of Nauru, because that has already been created in people's minds long ago. That's how theatre has to be."
[Report-Cologne, 2011.17, "A Journey to a Shit Island" by F. Schäfer].

Cologne City Gazette

"... Now the case of Nauru could be seen as a cautionary parable about the pitfalls of a land of milk and honey scenario, were it not for the fact that director André Erlen and Futur 3 focus their attention on how our projections pick up chauvinistic mechanisms. (...) The attempts to categorise Nauru and its people are taken ad absurdum with amusing theatre tricks. In this way Futur 3 succeeds in playfully questioning its own narrative structures."
[Kölner Stadtanzeiger, 21.11.2017 , "A paradise of bird droppings and offshore accounts",
N. Raffelsiefen]


"Under the catchy title "Shit Island", the theatre collective Futur3 devotes itself to Eurocentric ideas of paradise on earth. In dim, warm light, the audience take their seats in a circle, in the middle a kind of altar with glowing flowers, candles and figurines. To sultry, warm ukulele aloha sounds, the actors recite reports and letters from world travellers. Just at the moment when one wonders as an audience member whether one can endure this evening for two hours, the production takes a double turn and becomes a complete success.
The imagination of paradise is cracked. (...) Instead of idylls, the travelogues suddenly deal with the introduction of the European work ethic in paradise. And "niggers" and "Kanacken" are simply not made for that. Like in a burning glass, this conflict - second turn - is negotiated after a change of stage using the example of Naurus. (...) Today Nauru is desolate and broke. In order to somehow keep its head above water financially, refugee camps have been set up. There, wealthy Australia (...) gets rid of its rejected refugees for a small fee. One of the most cynical tragedies in the world is taking place in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, where one would expect paradise. Shit Island, that is ... An evening of theatre like a rollercoaster ride."
[Choices, 30.11.17, "Dystopia in the Silent Ocean", by B. Krebs]

Pure theatre

"... In the darkness of our ignorance, we sit in a circle around an altar-like table decorated with candles and flowers and listen to the melodies of our South Sea dreams. Beautifully off-key, Jörg Ritzenhoff sings about the people of Tahiti, and the sound of the sea comes from the loudspeakers. (...) The narrative style alternates between romantic and ironic-eerie; the sound of various bells and instruments helps our imagination run wild as settlers, colonial masters and outsiders roam the islands on their adventures. (...) Attentive viewers notice how filigree the staging by director André Erlen is. (...) The production succeeds very nicely in visualising the former research results on a video wall, which is painted by an artist sitting at the side of the stage.
Perhaps what Futur3 presents in two hours can be called documentary theatre. The text of the performance is collaged from books, records, documents, diaries, radio broadcasts. The story is told with a remarkable variety of scenic ideas - with dance and musical interludes, unobtrusive but effective sound effects, live painting including funny cross-fades, re-enacted radio and Skype interviews, dancing toys and swinging skirts.
It is divine what comedic sparks Irene Eichenberger and Luzia Schelling create from this scene at the Orangerie Theatre in Cologne - and it is only one of numerous episodes, very different in their theatrical means, in which director André Erlen and his artists tell the sad story of Nauru in two entertaining hours.
What we see is informative, amusing, frightening, entertaining. André Erlen does not judge; he only reports. Nevertheless, the performance becomes a more effective indictment of colonialism and the exploitative side of thoughtless capitalism than all the ideological rage-bourgeois scenes in other (...)
And it is a highly topical warning: the story of Nauru is a stark example of what happens when our world's resources are exploited without regard for the impact in the future."
[Theater pur, 22.11.2017, "Der Bagger tanzt nicht mehr", D. Zimmermann]

Tags: colonialism