Press – The Dinner Club
Published in Dagens Nyheter 2009 – 03 – 11
”The audience are active participants in the game”
“The Dinner Club”
Organizer: Mossutställningar and Poste Restante
Dramaturge: Stefan Åkesson
Scenography: Linn Hilda Lamberg
Cast: hosts and audience
I really do not know how it went, or whether my contribution to “The Dinner Club” was good or bad. I did my best and no one can ask for more than that, but the rumba was difficult.
Poste Restante’s performances and actions require involvement from the audience – we are in actual fact the artwork. Dramaturge Stefan Åkesson and scenographer Linn Hilda Lamberg work with audiences, locations and different social codes, some of which are quite outdated. Following on from the creation of two smaller works in 2008 – “Secular Society” and “night shift” they have now moved on to work on a larger scale in the creation of “The Dinner Club”, which takes place in the Polish Institute’s stately villa at Humlegården in central Stockholm: an evening course in etiquette; a pleasant evening spent together, but not without a certain amount of discipline…
Blankly smiling hosts and hostesses sharply dressed in 1950s style give instructions to participants regarding the various activities for the evening: mingling, flirting (women are like traffic lights: red, yellow, green), preparing dinner, dance lessons. During the three-course meal our recently polished table manners are scrutinised in the very best Ribbing-style, after which comes the finale with a formal dance on the parquet floor. It’s all well-mannered fun, though a little strenuous.
However, other deeper levels to The Dinner Club cannot be underestimated. A certain eerie feeling becomes apparent. The applied social conformity functions as an intelligent and revealing game. We catch sight of the sense of obligation that exists in formalised social situations that have become outmoded in most contemporary contexts. The first thought that strikes one is: Things were probably not better in the past. The second thought: What quiet, dictatorial rules govern us today?