Of the Utopian Attempt to Produce Change Together
A Precarious Singspiel by Beate Engl, Leonie Felle and Franka Kaßner
Live Performance / approx. 50 min
Sculptures, instruments, costumes, songs and videos
The premiere of the Singspiel took place in spring 2019 in the Kunstbau / Lenbachhaus.
PREKÄROTOPIA is entirely fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events or living persons, however, is hardly coincidental.
The artists Beate Engl, Leonie Felle, and Franka Kaßner star in the roles of Speaker, Poupée, and Trickster, who live in the system PREKÄROTOPIA between dance number and wrecking ball. The play’s title blends the “precariat” and “utopia” in a kind of ambiguous figure— depending on one’s angle of view, it is an emblem of possibility or utter impossibility.
Dramaturgically and musically, too, the performance is a roller coaster of contrasts and sudden shifts: now trapped in individualistic and misanthropic isolation, now filled with euphoria by their shared struggle against the existing conditions, the characters are neither static nor prototypical, developing over the course of the play, approaching, and ultimately failing to achieve, mutual understanding.
Altogether twelve songs with lyrics and music by the artists—including a breathy chanson, impassioned agitation, and a bawled punk balla —outline an aesthetic of politicalideological difference and raise questions concerning the form and impact of joint political action. With a nod to Bertolt Brecht’s definition of the “Beggar’s Opera” as a play for rather than about beggars, PREKÄROTOPIA is proposed not as a diagnosis of contemporary society but as a vehicle of communication.
PREKÄROTOPIA is based on an unorthodox interpretation of the tradition of the Singspiel, a—usually comedic—theatrical performance with musical interludes. Emerging in the early eighteenth century, the format evolved into a simpler middlebrow counterpart to the lavishly produced courtly opera. Engl, Felle, and Kaßner have taken inspiration from a wide range of models, from Soviet-era artists’ theater productions and revolutionary leftist workers’ songs from the 1920s to German revue films to American 1950s aqua-musicals and Neue Deutsche Welle music videos.
Curated by Stephanie Weber
Exhibitionview Lenbachhaus / Kunstbau, Munich 2019
Parallel to the exhibition in the Lenbachhaus / Kunstbau, 2019 an LP was released by the Munich label GUTFEELING RECORDS.
The production of the LP was funded by the Cultural Department of the City of Munich.
LP 12 “PREKÄROTOPIA
Edition: 500 pieces
180g vinyl, gatefold with lyrics, poster, precarious manifesto, postcard, Including mp3 downloadcode
TO BUY AT GUTFEELING RECORDS ◀︎LINK
Film: Adrian Campean, Hagen Keller, Felix Pflieger, Felix Press
Concept and cut: Beate Engl, Leonie Felle, Franka Kaßner
Digital 35, 16:9, 41 min.