We started out as street performers in the early 1980s with a tiny theatre in a little suitcase, called ‘Die Kleinste Bühne der Welt’ (the smallest stage in the world). On this miniature stage we performed – and still perform! – short plays, not with puppets, but with things: ordinary objects such as tools, writing instruments or cooking utensils. Meanwhile we have built several other small stages, and for our performances we use hands, fingers, ink, sketches, silhouettes, paper figures, torn paper and string. Hedwig Rost’s violin features prominently. It is a mixture of acting, puppetry and sometimes parody, but basically it is storytelling, visualised in a very special way: What we show alongside our storytelling is never the whole story, it is just enough to suggest, leaving the audience free to complete the experience in their imagination.
Our little pieces are between 2 and 20 minutes long, and by now we have about 100 of them in our repertoire: A MIDSUMMERNIGHTS DREAM – performed with cucumbers, STAR WARS – in 5 minutes, A JOURNEY AROUND THE WORLD – shown with a thin red string, THE GRATEFUL DEAD – rising out of an artist book, HOW A HEN SAVED THE WORLD – performed with a tablecloth …. Most of our pieces are based on traditional stories such as fairy tales, folktales or ballads, and each of them is visualised in a different way:
‘It is our task to set the stories free from the books and bring them to life again. We are always looking for contemporary ways of telling traditional stories. The stories have to live on.’
We are able to perform as soloists or together, in English and in Italian. In some countries we have used prepared summaries in the vernacular which where read just before the performance.
We have performed in Alden Biesen / Belgium (Int. Vertelfestival), Utrecht / Netherlands (Int. Vertelfestival), Graz / Austria („GRAZ erzählt“), Stockholm / Sweden (Fabula Festival), St.Donats / Wales (Festival “Beyond the border”), London / England (CrickCrackClub), Paris / France („Quartier d’ été“), Sibiu and Brasov (Romania), Guadalajara / Spain ( Maraton de los cuentos), Milton Keynes / England (Festival “A word in edgeways”) and in Cairo(Egypt), Johannesburg(RSA), Harare(Zimbabwe), Zakynthos (GR), Warsaw, Opole and Lodz (Poland).
Penny Francis (ANIMATIONS): “With a highly personal view of the world they present their shows, a variable number of short items, which are sometimes more like quickfire jokes than turns, with tiny objects framed in a theatre that comes out of a little suitcase and sits on Jörg’s knees. Hedwig plays the violin and intervenes in the action, which is as mad as the Goon show and made crazier by the extreme seriousness and precision of the playing. It works as street theatre, as cabaret, as intimate theatre, and it is impossible to describe it in words. See it, book it!”
Ben Haggarty / CrickCrackClub: “Hedwig Rost and Jörg Baesecke are Germany’s pre-eminent storytellers. … Most storytellers use words as the principal means of translating the world of story into a form that can be communicated, but these two, with great charm, have found another medium which opens the mystery of the simultaneous experience of an inner and outer world. They can make you weep tears of laughter and tears of genuine pity. Their show generated a genuine feeling of love – and what higher aim could you have?”