The Humans

  • Theatre
  • Music
  • Show
The 2014 archive

Alexandre Singh

New York - Rotterdam / First time in France

The Humans © Christophe Raynaud de Lage


An island, risen out of nothingness, is governed by two powers: the first, Apollonian by nature, is embodied by the sculptor Charles Ray; the second, Dionysian, by N., the Nesquik® Bunny. The respective children of those two spirits, Tophole and Pantalingua, try to hinder—but cannot prevent—the advent of humanity. The Humans oscillates between ancient cosmogony and grotesque farce. Alexandre Singh, following in the footsteps of Aristophanes, a large influence on his work, mixes motifs and references: nods to Shakespeare, Mozart, or Woody Allen, to Nietzsche's philosophy and to television... He uses every technique at his disposal in this genre-bending work: Gregorian music, baroque dancing, antique postures, mix and mingle to transcend trends and styles. We are witness to a tale of initiation that brings to mind the stories of Pinocchio or of the robot Wall-E®, in which newly-animated statues learn of the absurd and of the tragedy inherent to their newfound human condition. The Humans is therefore the story of those newborns, those humans of the beginning of the world, faced with their origins, their newfound free will, their search for authority. Alexandre Singh gives us a spectacular literary, musical, and plastic saga, which we are tempted to believe contains within itself the entire history of art, and of all stories.

When faced with an idea, a desire, or an inspiration, Alexandre Singh never asks himself “Why?” but “Why not?” Why not try his hand at sculpture, at writing, at drawing, at theatre or painting? Why not mix comedy with tragedy, metaphysics with satire? After studying fine arts at Oxford University, he began a protean work, halfway between performance, collage, and installation art, always characterised by a high narrative density and an attention to detail that verges on obsession. A lover of all great stories, which he looks for as much in literature, in the opera, in cinema, as in television, he examines their structure to then refine, enrich, or parody them. A Woody Allen fan, whose reference-laden humor he particularly appreciates, he is as adept at using irony as the absurd and the grotesque. His works have been so far displayed in galleries and museums, in Europe and in the United States. The Humans, his first play, was commissioned by Witte de With, the Rotterdam Center for Contemporary Art; it will be shown at the Rotterdamse Schouwburg, then at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York.

Renan Benyamina, April 2014


Text and direction Alexandre Singh
Translation Blandine Pélissier
Dramaturgy Richard Crane
Music Touki Delphine, Gerry Arling
Composition Touki Delphine et Gerry Arling
Assisted by Annelinde Bruijs, Robbert Klein, Amir Vahidi
Lighting Guus Van Geffen
Scenography Alexandre Singh, Jessica Tankard
Costumes Holly Waddington
Make-up and hairstyle Susanna Peretz

With Geoff Breton, Jesse Briton, Elizabeth Cadwallader, Philipp Edgerley, Ryan Kiggell, Alice Walter
And the chorus Jip Bartels, Annelinde Bruijs, Sanne Den Besten, Loulou Hameleers, Lucia Kiel, Suzanne Kipping, Robbert Klein, Lucas Schilperoort, Gerty Van De Perre, Folkert Van Diggelen, Amir Vahidi, Sanna Elon Vrij


Production Studio Alexandre Singh, Preromanbritain LLC
A command of Witte de With, Centre pour l'Art Contemporain (Rotterdam) and Performa 13 (New York)
With the support of Productiehuis Rotterdam, Rotterdamse Schouwburg, Fonds Podiumkunsten, Ambassade du Royaume des Pays-Bas, Fondation BNP Paribas, Fonds de dotation Famille Moulin
With the help of AGI Verona Collection, Collection privée Asiago, Art:Concept (Paris), Codarts Rotterdam, Fonds de dotation Famille Moulin, Gemeente Rotterdam Dienst Kunst en Cultuur, Institut français, Le Meurice (Paris), Monitor (Rome), Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Stichting Niemeijer Fonds

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