Ultimate Safari

Ultimate Safari
2023

'Serengeti shall not die!' – Bernhard Grzimek's message continues to shape West Germany's image of Africa to this day. In Ultimate Safari, Flinn Works (Berlin) and Asedeva (Dar es Salaam) take a 360° look at wildlife conservation and tourism in Tanzania. National parks and wildlife protection are widely regarded as entirely good achievements. But their origins lie in violent colonial appropriation. Safari tourism is the main source of income for several African countries, while at the same time most national parks exclude the local population, depriving them of their livelihood. High-tech equipment and armed rangers are an effective tool against illegal ivory trade and poaching, but life-threatening for nomadic pastoralists or farmers. Trophy hunting by white hunters is still considered a viable funding model for protected areas. Donor-funded conservation NGOs step in where government agencies fail, but they also serve as a business model and disrupt established local forms of conservation. The ensemble of Tanzanian and German performers and changing experts lead the audience as safari guides through the multi-perspective journey. Oscillating between performance, lecture and immersive film scenes with virtual reality glasses, Ultimate Safari develops into the last light-hearted journey into the abysmal world of wildlife conservation.

A performance by: Isack Abeneko (performance und choreography), Susana Alonso (light design), Lea Dietrich (stage and costume design), Alexandra Hernández Ceaicovscaia (artistic collaborator), Konradin Kunze (performance and artistic direction), Happiness Majige (performance), Laibor Moko / Leiyo Singo (experts), Andi Otto (sound design), Jürgen Salzmann (video / VR design), Sophia Stepf (direction) // Marit Buchmeier / xplusdrei Produktionsbüro (management Flinn Works), Grischa Schwiegk / Drittmittelproduktionen (production management), Gabriel Orio (organisation Tansania)

A Flinn Works Production in collaboration with Asedeva

Funded by Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa des Landes Berlin, Fonds Darstellende Künste aus Mitteln der Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien im Rahmen von NEUSTART KULTUR, Between Bridges

In Cooperation with TD Berlin.

Thank you Joseph Oleshangay, Mordecai Ogada, PINGO's Forum Tanzania, Laibor Mokos family for their hospitality, citizens of Endulen, Endulen hospital, Father Pat Patten, TANAPA, Ally Nassib Walagha, Octavian Paul Manga, Razalo Yohana Saito, Miraji Hamza Mahanyu, Samuel Saline Lekidina, Issacka Yohana Saito, Yare Parkepu, Bernhard Gissibl, Simone Schlindwein, Fiore Longo und Linda Poppe from Survival International, Zoo Frankfurt, Frankfurt Zoological Society, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, Frauke Dornberg, Tilman Neuffer and the costume department of Theater Bremen

 

Shows

TD Berlin: June 29 (opening) - July 2, 2023 / Theater der Welt (Frankfurt Lab): July 6 - 8, 2023 / Heidelberger Stückmarkt: May 1, 2024 / Lichthof Theater (Hamburg): May 4 & 5, 2024

 

Press

Sometimes a cool wind blows, sometimes drizzle sprays in your face. Rarely have VR glasses in the theater been so productive and at the same time so sensual! Director Sophia Stepf has done a great job with this and, of course, the aim is to get you in the mood for the safari romance. Anyone familiar with Flinn Works' work will know that it's not far from here to the moral depths and almost insoluble global conflicts. (....) Flinn Works and the Tanzanian collective Asedeva do not leave us with a solution, but rather with productive confusion and the feeling that we need to do more research, to know more. Because whichever way you turn the wheel, the consequences are difficult to predict, as the story shows. (Nachkritik)

Then you put on the 3D glasses and suddenly find yourself sitting on the roof of a Range Rover as a safari tourist, watching a herd of elephants pass by, so close and so real that you wonder whether this could be the blueprint for a new kind of safari tourism. The animals and people in African national parks would have their peace and quiet and Central Europeans would have an impressive viewing experience in their own living rooms. (theater heute, 09/24)

The production is a clever composition of videos, scenes accompanied by dance and music, and a lecture in German and English about the dark side of wildlife conservation. You learn a lot, but unlike often in research and documentary theater, you don't get the impression here that you might as well be reading a dossier or a non-fiction book on the subject. The clips and the direct play of the ensemble convey deeper impressions, give occasions to perceive oneself as an actor. (...) The work thus formulates an activist message, which is quite effective. At the same time, however, and rather in the background, the evening also outlines a technological vision. The videos actually allow the audience a kind of safari. One feels that one is much closer to the animals than when watching nature films. And this is not even 3D technology in use here. Technical progress could push the existing business model out of the market in the near future if virtual animals look as authentic as those made of flesh and blood. So soon the very last safari could really take place. (ND)

In the course of the evening, performance scenes in stage space alternate with documentary travel scenes in virtual space. Both levels skilfully aim at the deconstruction of the colonial safari format, which the production itself uses in the ultimate mode of appropriation. (...) the production's remarkable achievement is creating a tangible experience in of the knowledge complex that even supposedly unobjectionable and supportable nature and wildlife conservation is abused for colonial, capitalist purposes. (Nachtkritik)

Then suddenly, as a tourist, you sat on the roof of a Range Rover and saw a herd of elephants pass by, close enough to touch and so real that you wondered if this might not be the new safari tourism. The animals and people in the national parks would have their peace and the Central European would have a wonderful viewing experience in his own living room. Flinn Works showed that new technologies can be an asset to documentary theater. (Schwäbische)