A play about Mankind and Nature by Carola Söllner – English information
„PANIC – Humans in Nature“ is about our relationship to or with nature. What do we really long for when we are outside, where is our emotional connection to this „outside“ that is apparently so close to our „inside“? What do we need to change in order to find the feeling that releases our strongest forces: Love?
The piece breaks linear thinking patterns and wants to show people a way to get out of the feeling of alienation towards nature and to create an existence that is also emotionally connected. Mere science is not enough to move people to change their behavior.
Sensual and tender, existential and ecstatic, Elna Lindgens and Hallam London approach each other as „Human“ and „Nature“ and fascinate the audience with their touching performance.
Lichtdesign: Frank Küstenmacher, Bastian Marquardt
PANIC – Humans in Nature can be shown in German, English or Swedish. There are countless possible variations of our stage design, of light and sound design. Get in touch if you are interested in a guest performance!
all pictures by René Löffler
Some background information
The project „Panic – humans in nature“ looks for nothing less than a new relationship with and to the nature we live in. The artistic research for the play started in 2019 and interrupted by the Covid19 pandemic, the piece was brought on stage in summer 2023. Stage designer Flavia Schwedler created stage and costumes, the german-finnish actress Elna Lindgens and the musician and composer Hallam London performed the play.
„Panic“ is a term currently associated with stress in today’s civilized society. Literally, however, it refers to the feeling that sometimes overcomes us in the wild. The word describes the presence of the god Pan, the ruler of the forests and the natural world. In moments such as these, we often experience a strong, undefinable terror. We are unsure if the power that confronts us will embrace or annihilate us.
Wild, natural environments have always fascinated mankind on one hand, and on the other, inspired fear. Since the german romantic era, the expression „Waldeinsamkeit“ has been a symbol for man’s desire for close communion with nature. The japanese term „Shinrin Yoku“ can be loosely translated as „bathing (or immersed) in forest“ since the heart rate slows and one can come into contact with one’s inner self in such serene surroundings. Adversely, forests are continuing to be destroyed all over the planet. It seems that the goal of the human race is still to bend nature to its own purposes instead of just taking our place in the natural order. Was this always the case?
How can we find a way to overcome today’s alienation from nature, to reconnect and to – maybe – find a way to re-embrace our position in nature? Or to put it in a simple question: Is it possible to become friends with Pan?
In 2019, during an artist residency in Bergen, Norway, I began collecting material for a piece about the relationship between people and nature, looking for both the reasons for the human longing for close connection with nature and – on the other side – human behavior that often stands in extreme contradiction to it. An important basis for this are stories and thoughts shared by „Humans in Nature“, i.e. experiences that people have had in or with nature. To reach as many people as possible, I developed a questionnaire – you can still participate in the survey!
In early summer of 2023, „PANIC“ finally premiered at the Brandenburg Theater.