Filipino entertainers play a special role in Disney’s Empire of Happiness. They are seen as energetic happiness machines, who transform animals into human puppets according to US values in the amusement parks and shows. In her new piece, choreographer Eisa Jocson explores the intersection of humans and animals, of work, isolation and spectacle, together with Frankfurt-based musician Charlotte Simon (Les Trucs) and a team of Filipino performers. When will Disney’s world turn into a zoo? The COVID-19 pandemic has made this question even more urgent. Who can move freely? Who is forced to live in one place, in a confined space? In Manila Zoo, happiness and horror merge. While the audience at the Gallus Theatre and the performers in Manila are connected live via a screen, they search for the political inscribed into theatre and make clear that animals and humans in isolation share the same psychosis.
Artistic director, Choreography, Performance: Eisa Jocson
Musical Director: Charlotte Simon
In collaboration with: Bunny Cadag, Cathrine Go, Russ Ligtas, Joshua Serafin
Dramaturgy: Anna Wagner
Creative Presence: Arco Renz
Production Management, Coordination & Distribution: Anne Kleiner
Technical Director: Yap Seok Hui | ARTFACTORYY
Live Stream & Video Technology: Stev.e Kwek I ARTFACTORY
A Eisa Jocson and Künstlerhaus Mousonturm production as part of the Tanzplattform Rhein-Main. Co-produced by BIT Teatergarasjen, Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, Kaserne Basel, RISING Melbourne, Tanzquartier Wien, Taipei Performing Arts Center, TPAM - Performing Arts Meeting in Yokohama. In cooperation with Gallus Theater Frankfurt am Main. Funded as part of the Alliance of International Production Houses by the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and by the International Co-Production Fund of the Goethe-Institut.
Photo: Christian Schuller