Marcel Duchamp was carried to New York in a transatlantic ocean liner named the Rochambeau in 1915. In the 1920s, he posed for Man Ray to form the image of his female pseudonym Rrose Selavy. A designated mysterious identity whose name was signed to various works, it deploys a play on words - 'Eros, C'est la vie'.

For ROCHAMBEAU (Study #2), the company stage a contemporary readymade as a streaming work-in-progress - with the tension between found 'object' and its self determined frame spliced by machine generated content. Working with a variety of performance collaborators, director Tilman Hecker moves with Thilo Schmidt’s camera through a set of evocations and scenarios, with actors speaking predictive text generated by QuickType into an uncanny field of recognisability, while swerving into a toolkit of burlesque and historical pastime. Composer Davið Brynjar Franszon has developed various AI processing tools which intercept and transform parts of these recordings into sonic environments. Belle Santos’ costumes draw, like the props, from the historic fundus of the Volksbühne to shroud the performers in an incantation of early 20th/21st century passenger, sailor, or persona - completing the recursive loop of framework that folds back and plays with its own logic.



Featuring performances by Ivan Cheng, Frank Willens, FRZNTE, Katharina Meves, Eugen Ivan Bergmann, Alexey Kokhanov, Leroy von Bergen, and the voice of Lynsey Peisinger

Director of photography: Thilo Schmidt

Costume: Belle Santos

Composition: Davið Brynjar Franszon

Dramaturgy: Ivan Cheng

Direction: Tilman Hecker

  • Rochambeau was first developed in 2017 in a 12 day research period at Uferstudios, Berlin. With set & costume - Marte Eknæs + Nicolau Vergueiro, video - Thilo Schmidt, performers - Jan Andreesen, Ivan Cheng, Lynsey Peisinger, Viktoriya Muhamejanova, Frank Willens, directed by Tilman Hecker



Production coordinator: Michael Ladner

Production coordinator assistant: Bernhard Ferrari

Sound: Leroy von Bergen, Nico Schweda, Deniz Sungur, Michele Gambarara

Light: Stefan Prengel, Achim Koltzer

Props: Cornelia Behmenburg, Yvonne Schulz, Carla Schweigart

Costume support: Christin Bahro, Marion Schirra, Ulrike Schulze-Weckowska

Mask: Masken-Team Volksbühne Berlin

Special thanks to the company and crew, Mareike Maage, Özgür Kar, Ludovica Parenti & Daniel Horn, Eugen Ivan Bergmann


Part of the new series Next Waves Theater , hosted by Armen Avanessian & Enemies