Cultural Trust Blog: Zimmerman & de Perrot

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Originally posted October 10, 2013 by Emily O’Donnell at

Zimmerman and de Perrot photo

The world of Zimmermann & de Perrot is upside down. Onstage the characters are confined to boxes, stacked atop one another as the wheel turns and life passes by them. They stumble and fall, unable to cope with the unseen force that twists their lives around. Eventually they find their way out of the boxes, climbing, crawling and dancing their way to an uncertain freedom onstage. Martin Zimmermann, co-founder of the company says, “Our theater exists without language. [Hans Was Heiri] is a character piece, these characters are tragiccomic, living in a world that is turning all around.”

The theater of Zimmermann & de Perrot is indefinable. A pastiche of theater, dance, acrobatics, and absurdity, it is a type of performance art that can only be called their own. In their showHans was Heiri, characters struggle to find their identities and the similarities they have with those around them. Zimmermann says, “it’s about these characters who are a little bit lost and alone in this world, and trying to communicate with others.”

A large cube takes up the background of the stage, composed of smaller cubes where the actors slide and shift as the cube rotates, tossing them around. Zimmermann describes the piece by saying, “these cubes can be anything. They can be a world, or a house, or a washing machine mixing everything up.”

In this shifting world Zimmermann plays one of the characters; while his partner Dmitri de Perrot mixes music live on stage. Together they ask profound questions about life and identity.  “Is it possible today to be an individual?” Their type of theater is “like a living sculpture in front of the people,” and it is at once light-hearted and serious, absurd and profound, and full of contradictions, much like life itself.

Zimmermann & de Perrot will premiere at the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts from October 16-18, at the August Wilson Center.

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