project image
Patrick Morarescu

first performed on August 7, 2021
Castle of Rocca Sinibalda, in the frame of "Endecameron: Incubatio," Rocca Sinibalda (Rome), Italy
performed twice in 2021


Verena Stenke

Neckarsulm, Germany, and Venice, Italy


Our (Verena Stenke and Andrea Pagnes) personal experience of being a body home to pathogens flows into this autobiographical performance. The text that accompanies it builds a bridge between precise self-observation and a global, historical and literary outside. While many in Western countries presume it has been eradicated since long ago, it is still one of the deadliest infectious diseases worldwide. As the firstborn of the mother of pestilence, it has accompanied human evolution through the eras since time immemorial. Its social perception has changed fundamentally throughout the centuries. In the Romantic period, it was the epitome of muse, poetry and a popular motif in painting, literature and music. From a glorified malaise by the Bohemian poets to the cause of painful proletarian death during the industrial revolution, it became the antisocial illness of the lepers during National Socialism. Today, it is considered the disease of the marginalized, the dependent, the needy and the destitute. The common public hardly notices it. Although curable, more than 1.5 million people fall victim to it yearly. The performance is about tuberculosis. Our text narrates how Stenke discovered she was infected and the lengthy healing process. We perform barefoot on a carpet of mirrors and broken glass shards, separated by a sheet of glass to symbolize the transparent door to the isolation room where she was hospitalized. The performance ends by involving the audience in a collective spoken-out reflection on the effects of the lockdown and forced isolation they experienced during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on VestAndPage’s artistic and scientific research supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste / #TakeCare with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, and assistance by Dr. Bock-Hensley and the German Tuberculosis Archive Heidelberg (DE). Soundscape: “Zauberberg” by Kassel Jaeger, Stephan Mathieu and Akira Rabelais; “Per Verena” by Mauro Sambo.

In 2021, presented at “Endecameron: Incubatio”, Castle of Rocca Sinibalda (IT), August 7; in collaboration with artist duo Andrigo&Aliprandi; and at “Strangelove Festival”, Quarterhouse, Folkestone (UK), September 17.