“Two Pigeons Perching on a Bench” is performed in English at the Kasematten-theater on 3, 5, 7, 8 and 9 November at 8pm
Photo: Patricia Pitsch/Maison Moderne
Kasematten-theater addresses one of the most critical themes of our time when it hosts five performances of “Two Pigeons Perching on a Bench”, a social commentary on online surveillance.
Not known for its English-language theatre, the theatre’s artistic director, Marc Limpach, was apparently struck by the play when writer and actress Claire Thill performed it as a work-in-progress for the 2016 talent lab.
“I think it’s very important to talk about it and to be aware. Because I think most people know when you go online and tick a box to give your consent that you don’t read through it. You would never sign a contract in real life without reading through it but on the internet we do it all the time,” Thill told Delano.
Photo: Patricia Pitsch/Maison Moderne. Claire Thill, pictured, wrote and directs “Two Pigeons Perching on a Bench”
The play began as an exploration of overheard conversations through audio and performance, which rapidly drew Thill and her team into the murky world of internet surveillance.
Global and national revelations since then, such as the Cambridge Analytica misuse of data and Amazon’s Alexa recording conversations, have given the theme even greater urgency.
“I think there are a lot of things that are still unclear,” Thill said, adding: “You can say ‘it’s fine, I’ve nothing to hide’. But, in the future we don’t know where the data gets stored and what’s happened.”
In this multi-media performance featuring field recordings from different cities, the Luxembourger shines a light on the way digital surveillance is entrenched in our lives through the metaphor of pigeons. A central part of the play is the journal of a pigeon on Place d’Armes, in which it describes what is happening. “Pigeons are a metaphor for surveillance and for how it works. At the same time, they are so much part of our urban life. They are considered the scum of the urban animals and at the same time they are always there and always see everything. In a way, they are the perfect spies,” she said.
Photo: Patricia Pitsch/Maison Moderne. A play rehearsal at the Kasematten-theater
Thill says the play does not offer a solution, “because I don’t think there is a solution. It’s a very complex thing.” But she hopes the play will make people reflect the next time they open an app, click on a website or use social media.
Thill is joined by a cast of 5 in Luxembourg, after which the group hopes to take it on tour to London and Brussels.
“Two Pigeons Perching on a Bench” is performed in English at the Kasematten-theater on 3, 5, 7, 8 and 9 November from 8pm.