Grace Ellen Barkey & Needcompany [Brussels]

The Porcelain Project

The Porcelain Project
The Porcelain Project

10.10 – 12.10.2007

The actress, dancer and choreographer Grace Ellen Barkey has been involved with Needcompany since it was founded. She has made her own productions under the company’s wing since 1992. These are on the boundary between theatre, dance, performance and art.

Grace Ellen Barkey on her new performance, The Porcelain Project: ‘Who still remembers the flea circus at the fun fair? The absurd pointlessness of a carefully constructed world that leads nowhere. The ultimate example of an artificially created world in which theatre and art come together. Whenever I am working I think of this. In Chunking (2005) too there is no real event that serves as a driving for any functional action. The Porcelain Project is actually my own flea circus, in which the spectator actively determines the purpose of everything. It comprises an independent installation which I developed together with Lot Lemm, and consists of hundreds of porcelain objects that are manipulated like puppets. As if they have a choreography of their own. Together with The Porcelain Project this white, fragile and yet solid installation with its endless variations makes up my new dance performance.’

‘The king, or the concept of king, is the basis for The Porcelain Project. I am particularly interested in the ritual lives of kings, in the absurd and especially the grotesque nature of their existence. King George III who, in his confusion, wanted to teach birds to sing as a sort of solace, Nero who set fire to his city, and Caligula who wanted to possess the moon. What brings them together is a radical form of poetry, a traumatic longing for a beauty that is completely other-worldly but touches the essence of life. Just as with the flea circus, you can only stand and stare in amazement.’


created & performed by Grace Ellen Barkey, Lot Lemm, Misha Downey, Julien Faure, Benoît Gob, Tijen Lawton, Maarten Seghers & Taka Shamoto 
production Needcompany (Brussels) 
coproduction Théâtre Le Quai (Angers), La Rose des Vents (Scène Nationale de Villeneuve d’Ascq), PACT Zollverein (Essen), Kaaitheater (Brussel) 
supported by the Flemish Government