Jan Machacek / Oliver Stotz / Ximena Escalante


brut nordwest
Performance World premiere in English
{Stage media} {Ruins} {Myth}

EX-HELENA is the making-of of a drama. Three performers try to bring the mythological character of Helen of Troy onto the stage while shedding a light on the relationship between reality and myth from a feminist, contemporary perspective. Video art meets musical, Greek tragedy meets body art. However, the performers’ personal dramas keep interfering with the story. To make matters worse, the stage machinery – screen, lights, sound, etc. – seem to conspire against them, insisting on their own view of things until the surreal play with the possibilities of theatre brings unconscious and repressed things to light.

, © Sophie Pölzl

Jan Machacek / Oliver Stotz / Ximena Escalante – EX-HELENA 

, © Sophie Pölzl

Jan Machacek / Oliver Stotz / Ximena Escalante – EX-HELENA 

, © Sophie Pölzl

Jan Machacek / Oliver Stotz / Ximena Escalante – EX-HELENA 

, © Sophie Pölzl

Jan Machacek / Oliver Stotz / Ximena Escalante – EX-HELENA 

, © Sophie Pölzl

Jan Machacek / Oliver Stotz / Ximena Escalante – EX-HELENA

, © Sophie Pölzl

Jan Machacek / Oliver Stotz / Ximena Escalante – EX-HELENA 

Three individuals looking for their personal dramas: The play-within-a-play in EX-HELENA is a text meant to present a modern take on the myth of Helen of Troy, or ‘beautiful Helen’. The performers rehearse the dialogue between the physical Helen and her projected self, a cloud that pretends to be her. But the project seems to be ill-fated: One of the performers cannot bear looking at herself on the screen. Another one would rather do stand-up comedy, and a third one fantasises about demolishing the set. At the same time, unconscious, repressed ideas surface in the small group and the stage machinery revolts: The screen talks back to the characters and pushes them out of the projection. The microphone raises its voice, and the light overshadows everything. The devices have their own story to tell. EX-HELENA aims at our reality, which moves between analogue and digital realms. The dilemma of the two Helens and the otherwise silent devices demands liberation from hierarchies. The performance shows this in a surreal, humorous way, through challenges that become stress tests. What can emerge from the ruins of a reality as we know it?

Please note that following the performance on Sat, 4 November, at 9:30 pm there will be a screening of the Video EWIGE 80er by Jan Machacek and Oliver Stotz. Pay as you wish/free admission with a ticket for EX-HELENA.

Jan Machacek is a media artist and a performer. His stage works are intersections of space, body, and projection. They have been presented, among others, at the Wiener Festwochen, the Munich Residenztheater and Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Mexico City. His most recent productions at brut Wien include the video EWIGE 80er with Oliver Stotz and the dance piece Giotto’s Corridor with Georg Blaschke. https://janmachacek.at/

Oliver Stotz is a musician, composer and programmer. Since 1993 he has been musically, technically and performatively involved in countless bands and theatre projects. He has developed works with Sabine Marte, Billy Roisz, Jan Machacek, Helene Weinzierl (aka Cielaroque), Gin Müller, Oleg Soulimenko, Daniel Aschwanden, Akemi Takeya, Georg Blaschke, Lisa Spalt and Eva Jantschitsch (aka GUSTAV). http://oliver.klingt.org/

Ximena Escalante studied directing, theatre studies, and writing in Mexico and Spain. Her theatre works often deal with classical texts and myths which the artist reinvents. Ximena has been invited to the Pen Voices Festival in New York multiple times, participated in the Edinburgh Book Festival in 2017, and received, among other accolades, the prize of the Rockefeller Foundation, the Herald Angel Award and, in 2019, the Juan Ruiz de Alarcón Drama Award. 

Edwarda Gurrola is a theater and film actress. She has been a part of various TV, film and performance formats since childhood. In 2020, Gurrola won the Mexican Film Award "Ariel" for Best Actress.

Lisa Kortschak appears as a musician-singer in bands such as HALF DARLING and with her solo act 76 %. She has collaborated with various artists and projects such as Elektro Guzzi, Sabine Marte, Elise Mory, Gregor Mahnert, and pink noise girlsrockcamp. Her experimental videos were shown at international festivals. https://lisakortschak.klingt.org/lisa-kortschak

Nicholas Hoffman (* Canton, OH) makes performances, drawings, music and sound pieces that explore the playfulness, poetry and absurdity of everyday life. He is one third of the art-pop trio Kinky Muppet and lives and works in Vienna. https://nicholashoffman.at


Directing, video art, set design, production Jan Machacek Music, video programming Oliver Stotz Text Ximena Escalante Performance, text Edwarda Gurrola, Nicholas Hoffman, Lisa Kortschak Dramaturgical constultant Sabine Marte Choreographic consultant Deborah Hazler Lighting design Bartek Kubiak Costume design Hanna Hollmann Set and apparatus construction Chris Janka, Wallner Kopp Director’s assistant Elina Lautamäki

A co-production by am apparat and brut Wien. With the kind support of the City of Vienna’s Department of Cultural Affairs.

Dates & Tickets

Sat, 4 November: Followed by a screening of EWIGE 80er (Pay as you wih / Free admission with a ticket for EX-HELENA)

Mon, 6 November: Artist Talk following the performance

November 2023

Fri. 03.11.2023, 20:00
Choose your price category € 22/€ 16/€ 11

Sat. 04.11.2023, 20:00
Choose your price category € 22/€ 16/€ 11 / *Followed by a screening of EWIGE 80er (Pay as you wish / Free admission with a ticket for EX-HELENA)

Mon. 06.11.2023, 20:00
Choose your price category € 22/€ 16/€ 11 / **Artist Talk following the performance

Tue. 07.11.2023, 20:00
Choose your price category € 22/€ 16/€ 11

brut nordwest
Nordwestbahnstraße 8-10, 1200 Vienna


Evening programme_EX-HELENA (PDF)


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