Karin Schäfer Figuren Theater

Erik Satie


visual theatre | urban dance

The new production of Karin Schäfer Figuren Theater is based on the Ballet PARADE by Jean Cocteau, Erik Satie, Sergei Diagilev and Pablo Picasso, which was premiered in 1917 at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris - causing a huge scandal. 

Parade is considered the "key and starting point of an advanced form of multimedia theatre" and is thus a distant forerunner of what has been the primary focus of our work as "visual theatre" for many years now.

For the 101st anniversary of the premiere, Karin Schäfer, in cooperation with choreographer Valentin Alfery (hungry sharks), presents a contemporary re-staging of PARADE:  the ballet transforms into a piece of visual music-dance-theatre: visual theatre meets urban dance.

The inharmonious clown Satie and his accomplice, the incompetent Picasso speculate on the never-ending stupidity of humanity.
— Critic in "La Grimace", Paris 1917

Photos (c) Haari Weber & Michael Pöltl


The Music

PARADE, just like our other visual theatre productions: IBERIA and PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION, can be presented with a piano or an orchestra.

Two pianists will be playing on one piano together and interpreting Erik Satie’s music four-handed for the first series of performances in June 2018 and not only will the original ballet music "Parade" be played, which is about 15 minutes long, but also a complete programme selected by Karin Schäfer from various piano pieces by Satie. 

Among them are very popular works, such as the Gymnopédies but also wonderful specialties such as the "Three pieces in the form of a pear" - all together form a coherent musical and staged arc - with "parade" as the final and climax.

The concept

Karin Schäfer grasps the original concept - which is attributed to cubism by Picasso's designs of costumes and stage design and even Satie himself labelled his composed music as “cubistic” - and creates the entire piece in the spirit of Cubism.

For this purpose, the final result, the final scene, is divided into individual parts, separated into surfaces and shapes, and, as in the case of a collage, assembled piece by piece in the course of the performance.

The ballet itself, however, transforms to urban dance: three dancers around the choreographer Valentin Alfery, together with the puppeteers, explore the fictive boundaries between bodies, objects, and perspectives in cubist terms.

Cubism is … an art, especially about form, and when a form has been created, then it is there and continues to live its own life.
— Pablo Picasso

The piece

The almost too provocative simplicity and banality of the plot is a harsh contrast to the immense effort put into the music, stage design, costumes and was one of the many causes of the huge scandal at the premiere in 1917.

With us, this simplicity is contrasted by the sequential and fragmented - cubistic - process of the genesis - each part stands and emerges for itself, it can tell a story for itself (entirely without words just musically and visually) and then integrates itself into the whole.

The three urban dancers and the two puppeteers inside are setting shapes and figures from Picasso's work in the limelight and are gradually creating new, constantly surprising pictures and scenes, each of which stands and can be understood for itself - or better said: can intuitively be perceived.

In the end, the individual parts - in interaction between dance and object theatre - are combined to form a final image: As already planned in the original version of the scene in a circus by Cocteau and Picasso, where artists, showmen, magicians and their managers try to get the audience to enter the performance - unfortunately without success.

The Team

Artistic direction: Karin Schäfer

Choreography: Valentin Alfery


Ardita Statovci & Ariane Haering

(Ruzha Semova & Yuka Katori)

Dancers: Cat Jimenez, Patrick Guti Gutensohn / Moritz Steinwender, Valentin Alfery

Puppeteers: Almut Schäfer - Kubelka & Karin Schäfer

Lighting design: Boris Schäfer

Management: Peter Hauptmann


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Where can I see this play?

We are a touring theatre, usually playing in festivals, theatres and concert halls as well as with orchestras who wish to work with us. That could be anywhere, till now we have performed in 45 countries worldwide with our different productions. If you would like to be informed about when our next performance will take place, then it is best that you subscribe to our newsletter:

Is the play on DVD?

Unfortunately till now, no. However we have a recording of a complete concert online, if you wish to see this recording, we’ll be more than happy to send you the link to watch it.

If you are interested in schedule the show or if you’re a journalist who would like to report about our work, or you are interested in it for any other reason, we’ll gladly send the link, as long as you promise to come to our next live-concert around your neighbourhood and that under no circumstances you share the link.

How can one book the show?

If you wish to book one or several performances then please send an email to the following address: tour@figurentheater.at and we’ll get in touch with you as soon as possible. 

Would it be complicated if we wish to show the play in our venue with an orchestra or a pianist?

Generally no, however a sufficient stage would be required: min. 12m wide and 6m deep INFRONT of the pianist or orchestra. We would need 3 hours to set up our stage design and another 3 hours to install the stage lights which should already be available in the hall (we will bring our own video projectors and cameras and we will gladly send a technical rider on request).

Furthermore, 1 or 2 rehearsals with the pianist and alternatively the orchestra (after having a preliminary meeting with the conductor) would be required.

How many members of the audience are able to come and watch and is there an age limit?

The play is penned towards adults, 12 years and upwards are welcome. Depending on the capacity of the hall, up to 1500 members of the audience can attend the show.

In what language is the play performed?

It’s a visual concert performed without words, it can be understood worldwide.

How much does it cost?

We’ll happily send you a cost estimate of fees and travel expenses without any obligation, if you let us know when, where and in what setting you would like us to perform. Several performances at the same location is a lot more cost-effective than a single performance.

How big is the team?

For this performance we are a team of 7 people: 5 performers, 1 light technician and 1 manager, who’s also responsible for the projections on stage. We would happily come with our pianists and we would gladly work with pianists who is already there. We cannot bring an orchestra with us – but we do however look forward to working with any orchestra or other ensembles who play our selection of Satie's music.

Do you have a lot of luggage?

We are able to completely fill a concert stage with our performance, but everything we use on stage is built in such a way that it is transportable and easy to fold up. The props, costumes and equipment fit into a few metal boxes which we usually bring as normal flight luggage. Due to our extensive travel experience with international guest performances, we have ensured everything is compact and easily transportable.


Which of Satie's music pieces are played and in what order?

1. Gymnopédie No. 1, Lent et douloureux 3:39
2. Trois morceaux en forme de poire: Manière de commencement. 3:54
3. Trois morceaux en forme de poire: Prolongation du même. Au pas 0:58
4. Trois morceaux en forme de poire: I. Lentement 1:23
5. Trois morceaux en forme de poire: II. Enlévé 3:22
6. Trois morceaux en forme de poire: III. Brutal 3:11
7. Trois morceaux en forme de poire: En plus. Calme 2:22
8. Trois morceaux en forme de poire: Redite. Dans le lent 1:47
9. En habit de cheval I Chorale Grave 1:08
10. En habit de cheval II Fugue itanique 2:54
11. En habit de cheval III Autre chorale 0:55
12. En habit de cheval IV Fugue de papier 2:35
13. La belle excentrique. Fantaisie sérieuse: I. Grande ritournelle. 2:05
14. La belle excentrique. Fantaisie sérieuse: II. Marche franco-lunaire 1:53 15. La belle excentrique. Fantaisie sérieuse: III. Valse du mystérieux baiser dans l'oeil. Mouvement de valse 2:40
16. La belle excentrique. Fantaisie sérieuse: IV. Cancan grand-mondain. 2:15 17. Gymnopédie No. 3, Lent et grave 3:12
18. Parade: I. Choral 0:57
19. Parade: II. Prélude du rideau rouge 1:37
20. Parade: III. Prestidigitateur chinois 2:46
21. Parade: IV. Petie fille américaine 1:33
22. Parade: V. Ragtime du paquebot 2:27
23. Parade: VI. Acrobates 3:32
24. Parade: VII. Suite au Prélude du rideau rouge 0:21

Further information on the original production of PARADE with Picasso, Satie and Cocteau in Paris, 1917 can be found on Wikipedia.

I have another question…

Please write to us at the following address: info@figurentheater.at  - we will gladly answer any further questions you may have, we look forward to your message!




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