The Creative Hub, The Storey Meeting House Lane Lancaster, LA1 1TH

Einmal Ist Keinmal

There is a tremendous crash in the darkness. We see five bodies littered around a dimly lit dressing room. They appear to have fallen into this world after a violent event, lying naked and unconscious. Newton’s Laws of Motion can be heard, hinting at an unbreakable order which frames this occurence and the events that follow.

The image dissolves as a faint voice tells us, “I’m falling. I’m falling. Where to? Don’t know”. Five performers exist in an eternal cycle, enclosed in a dressing room which has only one functional exit: a stage door leading to a mythical theatre space. A second door, the fire exit, remains firmly locked. The figures are wrapped up in performance, rehearsing and practising, dancing and singing, arguing and philosophising, but always performing – for themselves, for each other, or in preparation for the show – a performance which is always off stage, but sometimes viewed through the television monitor. They constantly play to an audience, although it is hard to define what or who this audience is.

The world seems to control them and the cycle repeats over and over again, the five unable to refuse the call of the stage bell – constantly provoking and terminating the action by hauling them on for their acts. “The repetition”, we are told, “is a guarantee”. The blurred video link in the corner of the dressing room and the stories that are told hint at the type of acts these performers create on stage, time and time again.

Dressed in wedding gowns, fluffy dog suits, monkey outfits, they perform a grotesque sex cabaret where, we are led to believe, anything can happen in front of an audience who are never recognised. “I’ve never seen their faces”, says the MC figure, bowler hat and cigarette in hand, “I perform to blackness…I look out and I disappear”.

Finally, when the system is questioned, the cycle is disrupted by actions as ridiculous as the world they try to break free from: an escape up a tower, a failed shooting, a tasteless joke and a dance routine. Slowly the security of the stage world starts to dissolve.

Described as a cross between Sartre’s No Exit and Boogie Nights, the piece depicts a hellish world in which performance is the only real language, producing an experience which is both disturbing and highly entertaining. Einmal ist Keinmal is a piece of visual performance that negotiates the complexities of sexuality, bliss and redemption.


  • Written and directed by the company with Andrew Quick


  • Alice Booth
  • Seth Honnor
  • Simon Wainwright
  • Charlotte Stuart
  • Richard Malcolm