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Betroffenheit is a human journey worth taking

By Apartment613 on February 13, 2016

Post by Taylor Boileau.

All photos by Wendy D, courtesy of the National Arts Centre.

All photos by Wendy D, courtesy of the National Arts Centre.

“Betroffenheit, A German word for the shock that follows a violent incident.”
If you hold a bias towards shows that portray the human struggle you should not miss the Vancouver based Kidd Pivot and Electric Company Theatre’s Betroffenheit. This short and impactful piece portrays the sweet agony of rehashing trauma. Although the show portrays an enormous loss it is equally relatable to any heartbreak, dancing through the process of the main character’s psyche, pulling him in like the calling of a drug’s bitter fix while he tries to make sense of the reality of what has happened to him

Opening on a set reminiscent of a post apocalyptic wasteland, the show begins with an intensity that implies the heavy topic of this captivating physical performance. The props on set begin to move on their own in an eerie way that instantly gives the audience the sense of something very serious about to happen, and we wait on baited breath while the set comes to stillness again; we are not disappointed. From that point on the show holds an impressive balance of intensity, speckled with enough comic relief to let you breath and reflect on the true meaning of what is happening.

This post apocalyptic room is held inside the mind of our main character who holds an inner dialogue throughout the entire show. In fact, the only person speaking is himself, back and forth with the help of voice recording and lip syncing from the other performers. Everything said and done in this show is about the main character’s emotional state, both through dance and dialogue, each performer tells a story of struggle, attempting to patch up this poor man who can no longer find his bearings in reality.


Expect to feel something. The dialogue and the dance are both so raw and truthful there is very little room for distance from this performance. Do not be shocked if you shed a tear or two while watching this man tearing himself apart before your eyes. And if the dance does not manage to move you, the stunning technical effect will certainly impress you through light, sound and some sort of (I’m guessing) magnetic witchcraft. The crew deserve a round of applause. If anyone missed a beat, I didn’t catch it. Everything was so perfectly rehearsed and well timed that even through my own emotional turmoil I was filled with an awe of the sheer magnitude of this production.

This show embodied all my favourite things about performance art and did it beautifully. The Electric Company Theatre, in collaboration with Kidd Pivot said something that, I can’t imagine, could be said any other way.   Betroffenheit is a human journey worth taking, and is best took within the comfortable confines of a red velvet seat.

Betroffenheit is at the NAC for one more performance tonight, February 13, 2016. Show starts at 7:30. For tickets and more info, click here. Please note, this production contains a strobe-like effect, non-toxic theatrical haze and coarse language.