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A S T A   N I E L S E N   I S   D E A D   [ a n   i n t e r v i e w ]


Regina: I saw Asta Nielsen’s silent film ‘Hamlet’ from 1921 and was very impressed by her unique acting style. In there, Asta Nielsen plays a female Hamlet. Her ‘silent moves’, the way she plays the cross gender character in this early film, are very different from other actors of early cinema like Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton. It is more serious rather that funny and clownish.


Patrizia: When we watched it together, it reminded us a lot of Expressionist dance. The way she uses her facial expressions in relation to her body movements and her environment is very special and has much potential for inspiring choreographies. Her “Hamlet” has formed the starting point of our movement research.


Regina: We both came to the conclusion that being a film star and being mummified on celluloid is a completely different  thing to performing live on stage. As emergent artists we have a totally different status to a film star in the early cinema. The audience has to love us – otherwise we "die" on stage… The bizarre concept of death in ‘ASTA NIELSEN IS DEAD’ was born:  we have to entertain the audience or we die and nobody will take notice of our art.


Patrizia: But for us it means much more: Playing a suicide on stage and trying to entertain at the same time is not just a bizarre style of performing. We hope the audience is able to read between the lines, images and movements on stage. It's a question of what artists need nowadays to be loved by their audience and also by their fundraisers… In order to survive!