NXT creatives

Julia Haenni

Zurich University of the Arts


After travelling to Israel and Palestine the first time, theatre-maker Julia Haenni tried to find a theatrical format for rethinking the experiences, encounters and thoughts that came up during the trip. In her self-written drama ‘Thirst’, she investigates how human beings deal with power structures and the absurdity of coincidental antagonisms. In a rhythmically composed collage of scenes, Julia Haenni zooms in on one fictional relationship between a woman soldier and a male prisoner, both victims of an inscrutable network. At the same time the piece is not focused on a specific place or time, and unfolds itself as a play that questions universal issues such as freedom, imprisonment, guilt, power resistance, resignation, fate and determination. Within a live game-setting where the performers see and are seen throughout, the two actors are testing their physical borders. The setting questions performative constructs in a new way: do audience members have a responsibility for what is happening on stage? Why do they not involve themselves? Are people looking without interfering really innocent in their witnessing? What if reality is not as simple as Hollywood tries to show us? By breaking down the borders of reality and fiction, Julia Haenni reflects the practice of theatre-making as part of the discourse on power structures and hierarchy, and as a mirror for the way of working together in relation to audience and performers. Who then is the ominous system that is to blame?