Nothing is normal about the new performance of TAMTAM objektentheater. The location (at home), the use of objects, the introduction of language (an international tour with a wordless performance is postponed). Theater visits have become almost archaic and a colored nostalgic memory. That’s exactly what Garage plays with.
Last year, TAMTAM objektentheater made The tube, a one-on-one theatre that played with distance and intimacy. That performance was shown in several places during the summer, but under the current Covid measures, even this very safe form of theater is not possible. Streaming is not a solution, Gérard Schiphorst concluded, because the magic of his object theater lies in the fact that the audience not only sees how a story is told through objects, but also sees how the makers do it. The solution: Garage, a solo living room performance for on the kitchen table.
Schiphorst’s ability to improvise is immediately put to the test when it turns out that our kitchen table is actually quite small for Garage. But just as the theatre makers almost always find a solution for a stage that is too small for the set, Schiphorst not only uses the table in the performance, but also the record cabinet next to it.
The central object in Garage is an old toy garage from the 1960s. This is the second home of garage owner Joop and mechanic Sjakie. In 45 minutes they are visited by a colorful procession of customers in the form of old model cars, the majority of which, like the garage, have seen better days.
Unlike virtually all other TAMTAM performances, the objects are simply what they are: toys. The second surprise comes after the intro played live on the cigar box slide guitar: Garage has text, a lot of text even. That starts with the sixties newsreel voice in which Schiphorst tells in a dryly comical way about the role of the garage in the ‘modern era’. Every car, or rather the driver of it, is an immediately recognizable character, with Schiphorst bringing out outdated clichés as boldly as possible.
And so we hear an arrogant German Mercedes driver mocking the air suspension of the French Citroen DS and praising the Autobahn, a bus full of roguish Spanish tourists looking for their way to the Rijksmuseum, a beetle as a service car and even James Bond in his Aston Martin DB 5. Joop and Sjakie’s jokes are also so emphatically old-fashioned that they become entertaining again.
It fits what is essentially an absurd event: a grown man with more than forty years of theater experience who comes to your home to play with little cars while engine sounds simmer. And that you eagerly look at it and keep looking. Because this kitchen table show is not about the story or the displayed objects. The central focus is always wanting to play, however, wherever, with whatever.