Future Lab 1.0


In collaboration with Kati Hyyppä
Theater an der Parkaue - Junges Staatstheater Berlin, 2017
Theater an der Parkaue, which is Germany's largest theatre focused on young audiences, is conveniently located near our studio in Lichtenberg, East Berlin. During the fall holidays we got the chance to collaborate with them in a week-long production exploring the theme of “future”. Altogether about 20 kids aged 10-13 years participated in the project and Futurium, which is a new future center in Berlin, kicked off the week with a brainstorming-collage-workshop.
During the Future Lab 1.0 workshop week, our studio served as a laboratory where the kids were developing props & costumes.
After the intro, we started each day together at the theatre, warming up and spreading into different groups after that. Our workshop space served as a DIY laboratory, where the kids could come and build props and costumes, while the other groups focused on developing ideas, acting, dramaturgy and set design. The aim was to create an interactive performance on the last evening, where parents and friends would be invited and during which we would bury a time capsule that will be excavated again in another workshop in ten years.
Only a little park seperates our studio from the theatre. Kids were walking back and forth when they were developing stuff. These were some of the first decorated costumes.
In our group we started by revamping the black overalls, which we had all received on the first day. They got a coating of coloured and glittery tape stripes as well a some blinking LEDs. Then we moved on to bigger props. One of the themes that we had discussed was how our bodies will be in the future. This led to the idea of building a maintenance vehicle, that would support bodily functions. We’ve had already for a while an electric wheelchair in the basement, which was perfect for this purpose. Additionally, two grandma-style shopping cars were turned into trailers. The first one contained mesmerising plasma globes and provided an energy reserve for the people of the future. The second trailer resembled a plastic flower aquarium and was there to offer clean air - presuming that this would be scarce in the future.
The future support car was based on an old electric wheelchair. The kids built everything themselves, Kati and me were mainly offering materials, showing techniques and discussing consequences of design choices with them.
The future support car had two trailers, built from grandma shopping carts: One was providing clean air, filtered by plastic flowers.
The other trailer could provide energy with its two embedded plasma globes.
Several smaller props were also produced during the intensive week: cool helmets and hats, more decoration for the overalls, hula-hoop scanners, a time capsule and wizardly wands for the kids, who guided the guests through the performance. Our studio was covered in DIY materials, with leftover tape pieces and other trash continuously sticking into our sleeves and socks.
The energy trailer support crew with their special gear: They could measure one's energy level with a DIY-meter and charge little colored pompoms with the required voltage level to re-charge people.
It was worth all the mess and effort: the final performance turned out spectacular! As you can see on the video on top of this page, the final parade led by the glowing maintenance car was quite a highlight. With this ceremonial drive we transported the time capsule into its final destination in the park - it contains wishes for the future and will be excavated and investigated again in ten years.
The stage design at the beginning of the performance: Dominik used the structures of greenhouses to develop a futuristic setup together with the kids.
Two kids were leading through the show. They even developed a future language for that purpose, which they tought to the audience at the beginning.
After that, a couple of guides with colorful wands were leading the audience to different stations on the stage.
At one of those stations, the kids were reading 'future letters'.
At another station, the visitors could write wishes for the future on transparent overhead foil. The roll with wishes was finally put into the time capsule.
Presenting the time capsule: A plastic bottle which will probably survive quite well in the earth for ten years.
The future car had a special time capsule mount.
Ceremonial burial of the time capsule. We marked the spot and it will be excavated again in ten years.
Anton, the future car driver together with his sister, who designed and built large parts of the car. They were both very happy that the show went so well.

Special thanks

Big thanks to Sarah Kramer, Sarah Wiederhold and Dominik Stillfried, Jona Aulepp, Emelie Schade und Lena Velte for making all the parts of this project to click together so fantastically. We want to also dearly thank the participating kids, who worked with us and made such a cool set of props. Our car pilot Anton deserves a special mention for manoeuvring the challenging vehicle beautifully.

Additional resources