#EdFringe17 Theatre Q&A: Corinne Maier from Like A Prayer

Like A Prayer is a theatrical essay about personal faith in which six nuns deliberate attitudes towards the big questions of life. We spoke to Corinne via an email Q&A.

I want Like A Prayer to go on tour in the UK, the rest of Europe, and hopefully even further.

Hi Corrie, tell me about Like A Prayer

A very close friend of mine unexpectedly had an encounter with ‘God’. At first, I had a very hard time accepting the fact that she had just changed her opinions about life in almost a day. After the initial shock though, I became curious about this change. I wanted to know more about personal faith and, since my medium is theatre, I wanted to create a show about it. For the show, I chose two performers and devisers I knew had interesting opinions about that subject, and would help develop it. I also thought it would be a good idea to also ask professional believers: nuns. So we spent a week in a monastery in Central Switzerland and talked to the six remaining nuns about their thoughts, their faith – and also about their sense of humour. Now, through words, through stories, through video and music, I’ve tried to take our experiences in that monastery, and put them on stage.

What does Edinburgh mean to you?

It’s an adventure, and it will be our “first time”– the first time at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe! The structure of the Fringe is unusual for us – we’ve never performed at such a huge festival with so many productions around us before. So we’re really excited and looking forward to meeting a lot of new artists, people, and a new audience.

Who inspires you and why?

There are so many people who inspire me - I don’t think I can pick one. When I began to study theatre, theatre makers like Christoph Schlingensief and especially Renée Pollesch were very important to me, because their works expanded my idea of theatre so much.

Now, inspiration comes from so many different places, like the work of colleagues. For example, choreographer Cuqui Jerez and the director Boris Nikitin, because they always changing and questioning their own format. I also find inspiration in the music and especially the concerts of Santigold, who just creates a wonderful atmosphere with her songs and her live shows. Though sometimes inspiration just comes out of a talk with an old neighbour who’s much more experienced and wise than I am.

Describe your best or worst experiences on stage.

The best experiences are definitely when I just feel: It works! Then, from entering the stage until the show ends, I’m like a sleepwalker in the best, most positive sense – not thinking but only doing, surfing on the vibes together with the audience.

Describe your best or worst review.

Once, I did a show about the philosopher Hannah Arendt that was a solo lecture performance. There was a workshop for young reviewers who attended the show and wrote about it. Their exercise was to be very enthusiastic OR very critical about my show. However, I did not have this information when I read their reviews which was, well, a bit challenging. Especially in one case- I really was a bit offended -because the critic talked not only about the form and content of the performance, but about my appearance (e.g. my red cheeks) and movements as a performer.

If you weren’t a performer, what would you be?

Well, I mostly working as a director these days and very seldomly work as a performer. So that would be my first answer. If I would not be a director though, I could see myself working as a consultant or psychologist or something similar. I’m very interested in the way people function, and especially how the don’t function, in our world and in all the questions and conflicts of the human social life. But I am glad that I can deal with them in an aesthetic and not in a scientific way right now.

What was the last book you read?

Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer. I liked it very much, and it felt like a super good Netflix series on paper.

What is your greatest wish on a professional basis?

I want Like A Prayer to go on tour in the UK, the rest of Europe, and hopefully even further. After that, I hope that I can produce more performances that reach a wide variety audiences. I want to reach more and more people with my work. At the same time, I hope that I can reinforce my personal style, that I get more deep, more precise and more distinctive with every project.

Imagine that the BBC have asked you to produce a primetime show. What would it be and who else would be involved?

I would go into retirement homes and would try to find funny, clever, and passionate senior citizens I could involve in the show. Then I would want to produce a very comical show with them about the subjects of getting and being old in our society and how you live life when you don’t have decades before you. Also, I’d definitely want to explore the questions about older and younger people living together, not only apart from each other in segregated areas.

Twitter: @performances_c

Website: http://produktionsdock.ch/en/projects/corinne-maier-like-a-prayer/

Related Listings

Like a Prayer

Like a Prayer

This piece asks questions of belief and seeks answers within personal encounters. A convent with six nuns in Switzerland is part of their expedition that explores belief. How questionless is belief in reality and to what extent does a life in the convent represent the anti-model for urbanites who think of themselves as modern? After a period of research in the convent of St Josef, performers Julia Bihl and Johannes Dullin meet on stage and confront their experiences with their own different beliefs, while the nuns speak for themselves on the video screen.