Schwalbe is a theatre collective, comprised of six performers and creators. Our work is physical by nature. Every performance is born out of the body. Physicality is pushed to the limits and displays itself to be fickle and unpredictable in extreme circumstances. The live aspect, and the unexpected, is captured in a theatrical setting. We search for reality, on the border of theatre and performance.
There is an underlying fascination for man in all of our performances; man in his most primal form, stripped of all trappings. We question what form of civilisation we are, and cultural codes and psychological frameworks disappear. In our performances, we search for new frameworks and shine a light on the other side of man. Just like an onion, we peel his layers back. This is a recurrent ritual in our performances.
By choosing a physical form, we try and make something tangible, something that we would normally only think about. In Schwalbe speelt vals (Schwalbe cheats), we ask the question, how civilised are we actually? To what extent would our values stay intact in another context? Who will we become if civilisation disappears? By using the play as a safe framework for a fight in Schwalbe speelt Vals, we discover how quickly man can lose in a struggle, how fragile our civilisation is.
After four years in the same class, following mime studies at the Amsterdam College for the Arts, we continued as a collective. Our performances can be seen both at home and abroad. Every eighteen months we create a show. Beyond this, every individual is working on their own work as a creator and/or performer, singer and even furniture maker. We didn’t start with a common vision about theatre, but from the need to make something together as a group. Ideas about the world vary hugely within the group. We look together to find a form without compromise.
Within this, we are always searching for simplicity. We like to take something apparently simple, and explore it to its ultimate depths, until it becomes a metaphor for something bigger. In our process, we look for a concise form that, through the associations of the audience members, can become a multitude of interpretations. Like, for example, in Schwalbe speelt op eigen kracht (Schwalbe perform on their own), which came down to cycling for light. We cycle on exercise bikes, until we cannot carry on, to keep the lamp that shines on us burning. What starts as a group of fanatics on exercise bikes, ends in a struggle between life and death. What initially seemed to be a simple activity, grows into a host of associations.
We view the theatre as a closed space in which people come together. We are the ones that have prepared something. An act that we want to share with you. The act should bring to the surface what normally stays hidden due to the circumstances in which we live.