In Your Majesties, Navaridas & Deutinger present President Barack Obamas Nobel Lecture, held at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo. The performer Alex Deutinger recites the legendary speech of the President of the United States. From behind the audience, Marta Navaridas performs as a gesturing puppeteer, manipulating and guiding his movements. The President´s speech is revived, a piece of World History is updated and the techniques of political rhetoric are laid bare in a surprisingly clear and simple way. A fascinating dance about war, peace, and hope.
A dance performance about war and peace
"Your Majesties – a duet as unique as they come. Dressed in suit and tie, Alex Deutinger (an Austrian with an impeccable American accent) delivers Barack Obama’s speech from the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo. A speech about war and violence which, on its own, is fascinating to listen to, especially with Deutinger’s tonal inflections. But Your Majesties goes much further than that, because nestled in the audience on a platform, is Spaniard Marta Navaridas. From this vantage point, she pulls Deutinger’s strings, as a puppeteer would their puppet. Not literally, there are no threads in her hands – but her arms move as if there were, and Deutinger responds accordingly. All of which not only leads to interesting movement, but compels you to ask question after question about the speech itself, about war, humanity, where we’ve been and where we’re all heading."
Kelly Apter, The Scotsman
"This one is a corker: simple yet deeply funny, rigorous, revealing and politically charged […] An utterly unconventional duet. […] The entertainment value of this off-the-wall yet exceedingly intelligent show is partly in how those unspoken cues wax increasingly exaggerated and surreal. It’s as if Deutinger — and, by extension, the global leader whose words we’re hearing — were a kind of articulate yet behaviourally absurd puppet on invisible strings. […] The physical humour is both subtle and extreme, with Deutinger’s presidential stand-in segueing from low-key gestures to yoga postures, mock-balletic steps and fullblown martial arts moves. He does all this while steadily talking about war, peace and world events. It’s fascinating and fun kinetic political satire."
Donald Hutera, The London Times
"Your Majesties opens in this inhuman, calculated place, a sterile environment of clean speech-writing and safe PR. As it unfolds though, the audience are made increasingly more uncomfortable as bizarre and silly movements are placed alongside debates about war and peace. This anxiety is Your Majesties’ strength; even when the atmosphere gives way to infectious enthusiasm, the work remains troubling and interrogative. Your Majesties works through Obama’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech. The speech is impressively memorized in full by Alex Deutinger, interspersed gradually with ever more demanding movement. Your Majesties explores ideas of authenticity and performance in politics, and so Obama provides an interesting case study. While other politicians would more easily suggest themselves for fakery or dishonesty, Obama’s reputation for sincerity allows for a complicated and nuanced investigation. The piece doesn’t give an outright verdict on the machinations of power, and this uncertainty is continued in its atmosphere. Deutinger is accompanied by Marta Navaridas, who stands in the audience directing his movements. At first, Deutinger merely gestures, or shuffles his papers. Then, his hand wags, oddly. He shifts in his hips. He grimaces. It becomes very uncomfortable, for his speech steadfastly continues as his body jerks or malfunctions. As Deutinger’s movements become more preposterous (Navaridas kicks into a cartwheel, leaps around her box or starts thrusting), you can’t help but smile. Moving into the audience, he winks or shakes people hands, while Navaridas moves through motions of giving him green, yellow or red cards. Deutinger is a captivating performer: his ability to keep the tone of his voice regular and articulated while his body moves through a variety of poses is eerie. His head often seems to float on his shoulders, a wobbly part balanced precariously on its sinewy support. Navaridas provides a contrast in her glib, overt and, at times, lewd puppetry, lending Deutinger almost a certain innocence. Your Majesties lays itself bare before its audience, who very much dictate the mood of the evening depending on how much they find the work funny, surreal, or incomprehensible. But it is nonetheless a quietly confident piece, a moment for reflection in amongst the bustle of the Edinburgh Fringe."
Róisín O’Brien, Seeing Dance
"Everyday movements become choreographic movements. As in an encyclopedia of pseudo-private representation, the techniques of political discourse are enacted and laid bare. The text becomes music, structures the movement of the dancer, who convinces with his strong presence and physicality. The jury was impressed with the simplicity and clarity of the concept, the presence of the dancer on stage, and the "double game" structure of the performance. We are looking forward to further guest performances of this excellent work that will hold its own in the international scene."
BestOFFstyria Jury Report"
"[Navaridas & Deutinger] drag the most meaningful cultural-ideological gesture of the last years into the stage-light, for which they were awarded with the Best Off Styria Theatre Award 2010. The most remarkable thing about this evening´s performance is the gradual dismantling of the political gesture with its traditionally problematic relation to reality. Navaridas & Deutinger shed a new light on the gesture of politicians by shifting them out of context, which consequently allows for a contemplation of their political mise-en-scene. At the end of the day, there are differences between political talk, political action and the execution of political will. In democratic systems, all three are interwoven, if not through trust, at least through hope. And this hope - stunningly - is made the basis for individual reflection by Navaridas & Deutinger."
"Springende Gesten", Georg Petermichl, Corpus
"A performer recites Obama's Nobel Peace Prize lecture. At the back of the room another performer controls the President's movements as if he's a puppet. But is this concept enough to sustain 45 minutes? With these performers, it triumphantly is. Magically, Navaridas & Deutinger build an intimate rapport with the audience in an evolving satire that is far from one-dimensional. And the show's bloody funny. If clowning can be sublime, this is it." .
"A brilliant show. […] A skillful as well as entertaining deconstruction. […] Alex Deutinger gives a bravado performance, flawlessly weaving in all the movements prompted to him live by the choreographer Marta Navaridas."
"On Issues of War and Peace", Christoph Hartner, Kronen Zeitung
YOUR MAJESTIES PERFORMANCES
2010 Festival tanz schritt weise, Graz, Austria
2010 Festival Bgld. Tanztage, OHO Oberwart, Austria
2010 Festival BestOFFStyria, TTZ Graz, Austria
2010 Theater im Bahnhof, Graz, Austria
2011 Theaterhaus Gessnerallee, Zürich, Switzerland
2011 Dampfzentrale, Bern, Switzerland
2011 Kaserne, Basel, Switzerland
2011 brut, Wien, Austria
2011 Front@ Festival, Murska Sobota, Slovenia
2011 Int. Dance Week Festival, Zagreb, Croatia
2012 Frascati Theater, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2012 OFFestival, Brussels, Belgium
2012 Escena Contemporánea Festival, Madrid, Spain
2012 DanceIreland, Dublin, Ireland
2012 Museo Artium, Vitoria, Spain
2012 Muffatwerk, München, Germany
2013 Feedback Festival, Tanzquartier Vienna, Austria
2013 Plesna Vesna Festival, Ljubljana, Slovenia
2013 Aerowaves Spring Forward Festival, Zürich, Switzerland
2013 Dampfzentrale, Bern, Switzerland
2013 Currency Festival, The Place, London, UK
2014 Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, USA
2014 Abrons Arts Center, New York, USA
2014 Printemps de Sévelin, Lausanne, Switzerland
2014 Teaterdagarna Festival, Stockholm, Sweden
2014 The Riley Theater, Leeds, UK
2014 Fokus Venue, Jönköping, Sweden
2014 Kungsbacka Theatre, Sweden
2014 Stenkrossen, Lund, Sweden
2014 Dansens Hus, Stockholm, Sweden
2014 Dansstationen Palladium Malmö, Sweden
2014 Dansehallerne, Copenhagen, Denmark
2015 Maison de la Danse, Festival Sens Dessus Dessous, Lyon, France
2015 Rencontres chorégraphiques internationales de Seine-St-Denis, France
2015 Centrale Fies, Festival Drodesera, Dro, Italy
2015 FIT Festival, Lugano, Switzerland
2015 Thèatre Pole Sud, Strasbourg, France
2016 Palazzo Grassi, Punta della Dogana, Venice, Italy
2016 Teatro Comunale, Occhiobello, Rovigo, Italy
2016 Dance Base Edinburgh, UK
2016 Atelier Sí, Bologna, Italy
2017 Aula Magna Free University of Bolzano, Italy
2018 PNEU Festival, Toihaus Salzburg, Austria
2018 BIT Teatergarasjen, Bergen, Norway
2018 Tanzfabrik, Studio 5, Berlin, Germany
2018 La Tabakalera, San Sebastián, Spain
2018 Werkstattfestival-Prelude, Oberzeiring, Austria
2018 Ganz Novi Festival, Zagreb (HR)
2018 Studio-showing Uferstudio 5, Berlin, Germany
2019 szene:EUROPA Festival, Societaetstheater, Dresden, Germany)
2019 Performing Europe Festival, Center for Contemporary Art/Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland
2019 Opening of the Political Symposium at European Forum Alpbach, Austria
2020 Kultursommer Wien, Open Air Muthsamgasse, Austria
2020 Kultursommer Wien, Open Air Seestadt Aspern, Austria
Concept and Performance Marta Navaridas and Alex Deutinger Text Barack Obama and Jon Favreau Language English (optional with simultaneous interpreting into French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish)
Duration 45 min approx.