In the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche, the beautiful Psyche travels to the underworld to obtain an ointment for the goddess Venus. In Lewis Carroll's tale, Alice falls down a rabbit hole into Wonderland and explores the fantastical place. In Lyman Frank Baum, young Dorothy is swept into the land of the Munchkins by a whirlwind and follows the yellow brick road to the Emerald City.

Inspired by the archetype of the "little girl" who embarks on a journey into the unknown, the theatre collective BVDS embarks on a feminist journey into the underworlds. What can a "hero's journey" look like when the woman is not the desired object at the end of the journey, but the traveller herself? What is explored is not a physical journey, but travelling within - not as an exercise in imagination, but as a real and profound process of transformation.

Based on the Inca medicine wheel, a kind of map of spiritual oneness with creation, the Shamanic Journey to the Underworld describes liberation from the grip of death. Facing one's own fears also means overcoming them and thus releasing deeply hidden thoughts and connections: confronting oneself with all the mistakes and problems and accepting them. In their search for transformations, BVDS start from the principle that everything is imaginary. Everything we perceive is a projection of our inner world, so that the (outer) world perfectly reflects the state of our soul. So what do these underworlds look like into which the "little girl" descends level by level into her own unconscious and confronts the bodily outgrowths of her own fear?

Behind the abbreviation BVDS are the Dutch theatre makers Suzan Boogaerdt and Bianca van der Schoot, who, after Headroom, are now returning to the Schauspielhaus Bochum with a new creation. Their works move between performance and video installation and thus create a synergy of performing and visual arts: between the black box of the theatre space and the white cube of the galleries, BVDS open up their own grey space, border spaces that invite us to engage with the newly emerging (virtual) world and to dream new realities.

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  • Duration: 1:30h, no break
  • Premiere: 20.01.2023
  • Language: English and German with German surtitles
Video: Siegersbusch Film
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Press voices

Die Performerinnen zelebrieren einen Parforceritt durch eine mittels knallbunter Popkultur ins Jetzt gewendete Mythologie.
Ruhr Nachrichten, Tom Thelen

Mitten im grauen Januar bietet das Schauspielhaus Bochum eine Uraufführung, die vor Farbe nur so sprüht: „Underworlds – A Gateway Experience“ des niederländischen Regiekollektivs BVDS in den Kammerspielen zeigt eindrucksvoll, was tricktechnisch auf den Bühnen heutzutage möglich ist.
Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Sven Westernströer