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Follow the dopamine
Dance piece on ADHD and neurodiversity
Relaxed Performance 

2023/2024

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photo: Dominik Więcek

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photo: Dominik Więcek

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photo: Dominik Więcek

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photo: Dominik Więcek

In "Follow the dopamine", the performance collective Merle | Mischke | Klee examines characteristics typical of ADHD, such as enthusiasm, creativity and empathy, and reflects on how different concentration, impulsiveness and emotional vulnerability feel. No two brains are the same, although this is not visible from the outside. How do you learn not to draw conclusions about others from yourself? The three performers seek constant togetherness, becoming a group that skips, dances and intertwines, questioning how to be mindful of the needs and abilities of others. The artists perform with an interactive stage set made of silver pipes and glowing tubes that are reminiscent of neuronal connections. The sound that the materials make becomes the soundtrack. The trio indulges in phases of hyperfocus and repeatedly succumbs to chaos, distraction and exhaustion. 

 

The artists conducted numerous interviews with neurodivergent people and collected anecdotes, which are heard in the performance. Elena Bulochnikova and Jasiek Mischke live with ADHD and together with their neurotypical collaborators, they reflect on how neurodiversity shapes friendships, (working) relationships and our social coexistence. 

Relaxed Performance

Merle | Mischke | Klee also invites people to visit the theatre who may feel uncomfortable with conventional theatre etiquette. This performance aims to create a more relaxed space in which audible audience reactions or movements are allowed. At the beginning of the performance, the audience first enters the stage area and can get very close to the stage objects. The audience then spreads out over two tribunes opposite each other with chairs to sit on. During the one-hour performance, the entrance door remains unlocked and soft lights make it possible to leave the stage, to take a break in the quiet foyer and to return at any time. In the middle of the piece, it gets very loud and the lights change abruptly. The performance focuses on ADHD in adulthood and you can hear some very emotional stories about neurodiversity spoken in English and German. The piece is aimed at an audience aged 15 and over.

Workshops
& Lectures

Merle | Mischke | Klee offers dance workshops and educational lectures for young people (14+) and adults. No movement experience is needed in order to take part. These participatory activities are paired with a visit of "Follow the dopamine" and an after talk with the involved artists. The combination of experiencing or learning about dance, watching the performance and reflecting on it collectively afterwards shall allow a deeper understanding of the topic ADHD and the creative process of the collective. Moreover, it can foster a lasting interest in contemporary dance as an art form.

Performance

Coralie Merle, Jasiek Mischke, Mark Christoph Klee
 

Dramaturgy

Charlotte Mathiessen

Set Design and Costume

Elena Bulochnikova


Composition

Christopher Ramm

Light Design

Manuel Melzer

Technical Support

Lars Kracht


Production Management and Public Relations

Mark Christoph Klee

The project series "Follow the dopamine" was preceded by a research phase on ADHD and neurodiversity, supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media within the program NEUSTART KULTUR. Many thanks go to all the interviewees who shared their own experiences in personal conversations or took part in online surveys.

 

"Follow the dopamine (Kunstflecken)“ is a project by Merle | Mischke | Klee commissioned by Kunstflecken Neumünster. It is funded by the Ministry for General and Vocational Education, Science, Research and Culture Schleswig-Holstein and by the city of Neumünster. Rehearsal residencies are made possible by Théâtre Sévelin 36 Lausanne.

"Follow the dopamine" is a project by Merle | Mischke | Klee and is co-produced by Theaterwerkstatt Pilkentafel Flensburg and Netzwerk Freier Theater e.V. (NFT). It is funded by the Ministry for General and Vocational Education, Science, Research and Culture Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg Ministry for Culture and Media. NFT is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media within the framework of „Verbindungen fördern“ of the Federal Association for the Independent Performing Arts. The guest performances are made possible by „Hamburgische Kulturstiftung“, the city of Flensburg and the city of Neumünster. Rehearsals are made possible a.o. by the programme "Zu Gast im M.1." of the Arthur Boskamp-foundation Hohenlockstedt.

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Kunstflecken Festival Neumünster 

September 2023

During a two-week residency, the artists transformed a vacant shop into a temporary performance space where they rehearsed scenes that made their research on ADHD physically tangible. The aim of this site-specific project was to bring the rehearsal process of performing artists, which is otherwise often hidden away in studios, into the shop window in order to provoke spontaneous encounters between dance and passers-by. The interim cultural use also revitalises the increasingly silent city centre. The team concluded its research with several presentations to the Kunstflecken Festival audience.

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