by Magdalena Schrefel
In «Archive of Tears» Magdalena Schrefel invents a commemorative space that preserves the most fleeting signs of human feelings – tears. This universal, human, salty secretion that leaks from the organs of our sight, the eyes, seems to combine the body and emotion, the mind and chemistry in an almost alchemical fashion: feelings – of movement, grief or joy – are translated into a physical language. So the playwright equips her archive with curious devices, centrifuges and phials for tears, in order to index and store what has been wept. The stories hidden in this fluid that tastes like the ocean are extracted and made audible. Schrefel’s archive attempts to preserve fleeting narratives that are either not publicised or overlooked in times of social distancing, momentary recordings or highly compact linguistic fragments of human experiences. Because the archive is a space of hope – of a future where the past has not been lost but has become a body and a voice. The world premiere of «Archive of Tears», a play commissioned by the Residenztheater, will be directed by Resident Director Elsa-Sophie Jach, who has already allowed repressed voices to be heard in highly musical fashion in «The Outrageous Ones».
«Every tear crystallises a world. What if there were an archive for them, what if there had always been one? Where tears would be saved, at least for a time. What would happen if we systematically conserved tears, for example by drying or freezing them? In order to observe them from a distance, as if in a kaleidoscope or on stage: is that me or is it my sadness? And what order would my tears follow?»