Stop Acting, – The Truth Is Real!

2007 / Video / PAL 4:3 / 14:00 min. color / sound

“We attribute a special status of genuine truth to something we consider to be authentic, simply because it is able to be truth in itself, manifest and non-representable. In order for this to become apparent, however, it must be presented. The presentation of non-representation.” (Jan Berg)

Marion Porten invites the Ukrainian actress Tamara Plaschenko to a theater in Kiev for an interview concerning her career and professional training. The interview is recorded and transcribed, taking note of posture and gestures as well, which are then re-written as stage directions and inserted into the body of the interview script. Fragments of the interview are staged anew. Anecdotes about her life on stage take the spotlight. Apparently spontaneously, she tells the story of once having virtually ‘met herself’ on stage. Famous for the performances she had given in the Tschernobyl area following the nuclear catastrophe, Tamara Plaschenko tells how she found herself years later in the audience of an overseas theater production watching an actress playing whom she recognized as herself (Tamara). The language alternates between Ukrainian, German and English. The Ukrainian joke, which Tamara Plaschenko tells while recounting the above-mentioned anecdote, doubles the theatricality in terms of its portrayal of the ‘shortest play ever, performed in every corner of world,’ while in itself simultaneously revealing how political relations were at that time. The transcribed and translated punch line becomes pointless (and no longer rhymes), further demonstrating how shifts of meaning accompany the transfer of material into foreign contexts and cultures, in turn producing new readings. In other scenes, the English subtitles no longer match the spoken word, thus refusing to fulfill their presumed function. The fixed camera position, the lighting and black background of the theater setting in Kiev remind us that this situation is clearly staged. However, throughout the course of the interview, there are moments of (seemingly) documentary truth. The at times rather unsubtle edits accentuate once again the potential for manipulation which is a given in the medium of video.

Video: PAL / 4:3 / 14:00 min.
Performer: Tamara Plaschenko
Language: Ucrainian & English subtitles

Video stills
Video stills