July 1968. The legendary Paradise Now by the New York theatre company The Living Theatre premieres at the Festival d’Avignon. The actors attempted to unleash a revolution by getting the audience into a state of readiness. It was an ecstatic trip intended to result in a new form of togetherness. Their revolution was not only political but also spiritual, inspired by sources such as the I Ching, Chassidism, and Kabbalah. They focused especially on the relationship between the collective and the individual.
Half a century later, Kaaitheater artist-in-residence Michiel Vandevelde is exploring the vestiges of the legacy of May ’68 with a new generation of young people. Many of the ideals of the hippie generation have become hip practices: companies like Google and Apple promote self-organization and decentralization as the best way to develop new ideas and achieve results. But does the collective still have any significance as an artistic and political statement?
The play is a voyage from the many to the one, and from the one to the many. – The Living Theatre on Paradise Now