‘In between those daily routine clicks on your computer, you should absolutely take twenty minutes of your time to allow yourself both to be carried away by PAKMAN, and to be prodded into thinking twice.’
in Pforzheimer Kurier, 23 September 2017
A show with a message
The tempo is unrelenting, the rhythm of the task being performed faster and faster, and every mistake is punished.
Of all the performances at the ATOLL festival, PAKMAN is the one that comes closest to today’s society and the lies it tells about life.
“We want to show what actually happens if you click on something on your home computer and automatically expect it to be delivered the next day,” juggler Stijn Grupping explains. In an intensive, 20-minute show, he and his inspiring fellow performer, percussionist Frederik Meulyzer, portray an ever-increasing madness from which people struggle to or are unwilling to break free. The two Antwerp-based performers were inspired by a TV documentary about the internet trader AMAZON and the average working day of one of its staff: monotonous work, time pressure, and the strict order imposed by the computer. The price paid for the firm’s success and its customers’ convenience is high.
Their stage is a lorry, in which they also travel around, and that allows room for some 25 spectators. The controlled beginning is followed by an ever more frenetic storm of speed and commotion. During the increasingly scarce breaks, the isolated work slaves make matters even worse by terrorising each another.
In Karlsruhe, it was apparent that the immensely high quality of both performers can also become a problem. The audience was so stupefied by Grupping’s juggling that the dramatic message is drowned out. Grupping is certainly aware of this issue: “You can either be enthusiastic about the show, or recognise the tragedy of the system.” PAKMAN is as exciting as it is disturbing as it is breathtaking. In between those daily routine clicks on your computer, you should absolutely take twenty minutes of your time to allow yourself both to be carried away by this performance, and to be prodded into thinking twice.