"This is a game. These people are losers, all addicts in one way or another...
The Conversationalist was Gob Squad's contribution to Hebbel Am Ufer's performance marathon UNENDLICHER SPASS VON DAVID FOSTER WALLACE – 24 STUNDEN DURCH DEN UTOPISCHEN WESTEN inspired by David Fosters Wallace's cult novel Infinite Jest. 12 artists were asked to contribute to a tour which took its audiences on a 24 hour journey through some of Berlin's forgotten buildings and sights. The once glamorous 5000 seater Steffi Graf tennis stadium in the wealthy Berlin suburb of Grunewald was the setting for a different kind of tennis game in which Gob Squad play 'professional conversationalists'. Locked into a co-dependent relationship with themselves, the game itself is a physical interplay of gestures, together with an unwritten etiquette of what is considered to be 'a good conversation'. Players serve topics, trying to stay within the confines of what is considered to be non-offensive and polite, opponents retaliate by attempting to develop the conversation to their advantage, whilst remaining non confrontational. It appears to be a game of social interaction in which players must stay 'light on their feet', establish and stand their ground, attack and defend their shifting positions. This project sees the company return to the territory of site based work, this time inspired by a chapter of Infinite Jest in which a father takes on an elaborate disguise in order to trick his son into having a conversation with him. Gob Squad feel close to this attempt to communicate by creating a huge set up that attempts to create intimacy through technological means of alienation."
Concept: Gob Squad
Performed and Devised by: Johanna Freiburg Sean Patten Sharon Smith Berit Stumpf Sarah Thom Bastian Trost Simon Will
Sound Design: Sebastian Bark
Costumes: Emma Cattell Kerstin Honeit
Set Design: Gob Squad Tal Shacham
Production Manager and Dramaturgy: Christina Runge
Production Assistant: Milena Kipfmüller
Interns: Valeria Germain Tomer Dotan
Sound Technician: Torsten Schwarzbach
Management: Eva Hartmann
Camera: Miles Chalcraft Mat Hand
Edit: Anna Zett
The Conversationalist is a Gob Squad and Hebbel am Ufer Coproduction, originally presented as part of "Unendlicher Spass von David Foster Wallace. Eine Reise durch den utopischen Westen."http://www.gobsquad.com/projects/the-conversationalist