The Real Forensic, Singapore
by: Yvonne Phua, February 10,2001
Post Theatre stretches the boundaries to present science as a performance. The Real Forensic is a show about both the methods and ideas of Germany?s leading forensic scientist Dr Mark Benecke, played brilliantly by Murat Belcant. The audience is taken on a trip down biology lane where corpse becomes "living subject". Benecke's penchant for flies and maggots see him delving into the detail of how they are nature's little helpers in determining the cause, length of death, and even geography of where the person died.
Presented in anatomic theatre style in a manner that is not repulsive, but compelling, dead bodies are given "new life" through Benecke's passion about the subject of insects and their usefulness in science. Once thought taboo, forensic scientists had to go "underground" with their subjects and experiments, but Dr Benecke changed all that with his media savviness. Be it be handling maggots or flies, Dr Benecke treats his subject in a personal first person manner, and the audience is thus lured into his world where entertainment and science sit on a blurred margin. But the question on everyone's lips is: Is Benecke a scientist or is he an actor portraying a scientist?
The text for The Real Forensic was conceived by dramaturge Klaus Fehling and is divided into 26 sections. Aligned in 26 shoeboxes are objects to illustrate the different aspects of the play. The play begins with a startling introduction, then heavy dogma and then it slowly moves on to subject matters relating to life cycles (birth, chrysalis, metamorphosis) and ends with documentations of Dr Benecke's work that include multimedia projections documenting his radio and TV appearances. The real life Dr Benecke spends as much time publicising his work on TV as he does with cadavers and insects. His infectious, almost "child-like", obsession is well known in the medical field as well as in the public eye.
Murat Belcant (star of Waterworld, Die Hard 2, Saving Private Ryan and Eyes Wide Shut) plays Dr Benecke. Being a German-speaking Belgian with Turkish ancestry, Murat is deeply interested in marginalized characters. In The Real Forensic he convincingly portrays the German doctor, even right down to the film shots of him speaking to the media. The corpse and doctor ?relationship? is capably handled (the dry humour helps) and the audience is wooed into believing that the corpse is a living thing.
Director Max Schumacher is well known in the theatre scene for his provocative and innovative works. He founded Post Theatre New York in 1998 and is currently attending the Institute for Culture and Media Management at Hanns Eisler Conservatory in Berlin. Schumacher's productions show an active involvement and desire for new media, extra-contextualised visualisation and interactive performance. And The Real Forensic is no different; showcasing music and multimedia visuals with superb effect. Post Theatre is more than just a theatre company; it is an aesthetics program that aims to explore theatre as a medium and its relationship within other forms of media. As such, The Real Forensic can be considered the epitome of the company's theatrical direction.
From the Night Out Channel of http://www.ZingASIA.com