Back to the Present

Back to the Present

A production by Constanza Macras | DorkyPark and Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz, Berlin. In co-production with Sophiensæle Berlin, Lille 2004 – Kulturhauptstadt Europas and Maison des Arts de Créteil.


BACK TO THE PRESENT was the first piece realized by Constanza Macras | DorkyPark  as a site-specific performance in a derelict early 20th century department store, the Kaufhaus Jandorf, in the middle of Berlin. In 2004, after the success of this site-specific performance, a stage version was created and premiered at the Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz.

BACK TO THE PRESENT is journey into the past. Memory as looped feedback. Where do you go when you don’t want to deal with the past or the future? The performers of Back to the Present find themselves in a common space; a casting for a reality show like big brother, survivor or Miss right. These shows are constantly recreated around the world sometimes with different names and they all have in common that they only exist in the present, in the flatness of everyday little struggles.

In the end, every mission – ancient Rome, old relationships, the space station MIR – every mission ends in garbage, ruin, and debris. Often, the debris lasts far longer than the original project. There is garbage orbiting the earth from 35 years ago, from a mission that lasted a day. Getting back to the present means living on top of layers of yesterday‘s throwaways, or underneath them, or between them.

Back to the Present: How do you recycle the stuff that never decomposes, like love letters, flags, old props, old ideas? As history becomes increasingly digital, what is the difference between storage and memory? Can you use memory – with all of its faults and imprecision – to make life experiences richer, rather than poorer?

Back to the Present lives in a sort of limbo between the layers of its own history. Like the MIR itself, like the sweet life itself, it will be leaving behind medals, uniforms and costumes, old props and programs, video recordings, broken and useless pieces of the set. Extend this further, the debris of past self destructive relationships: Torn cinema tickets, old phone numbers, love letters, cards from Valentine’s Day. All of these build the ruins that are the context and physical setting for Back to the Present.

After the success of the site-specific in Kaufhaus Jahndorf, an old department store, Constanza Macras in collaboration with the Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz made a stage version of Back to the Present.


Cast & Crew

Direction and Choreography: Constanza Macras
Dramaturgy: Carmen Mehnert

Performers: Romeo Ballayan, Knut Berger, Diane Busuttil, Joris Camelin, Nir De-Volff, Jill Emerson, Claus Erbskorn, Jared Gradinger, Arik Hayut, Maike Möller, Rahel Savoldelli, Yeri Anarika Vargas Sanchez

Stage Design: Patrice Wisniewski
Costume Design: Gilvan Coêlho de Oliveira
Sound Design: Stephan Wöhrmann
Lightning Design: Joerg Bittner
Videographers: Constanza Macras, Kevin Slavin
Music: Claus Erbskorn, Arik Hayut

Assistant Direction: Max Luz
Assistant Stage: Anton Lukas, Julia Weis
Assistant Costume: Constanze Hoffmann

Production: DorkyPark
Tourmanagement: DorkyPark


“What distinguishes “Back to the Present”, apart from a particularly personable , sexy cast, is the manic good humor of the entire enterprise [...] No wonder it’s been so popular at home. And here, as well: Dance Theatre Workshop was packed on Thursday, and erupted with cheers.” New York Times, September 2006

” Dance la vie, dance” [...] These adults who have not grown out of their infancy yet, but are entangled in funny or pseudo-dramatic situations, get wild on stage and bring it to life. This corresponds absolutely to Macras’ concept: she likes to show the real, the living rather than the performance, the show. Life brings up more emotions than banal imagination. Bien Public, December 2006

“…one only divines that one find a lot biographical themes are mixed into this performance (Back to the Present) – in any case this scene is performed in a very convincing way, following Macras’ credo that only a perfect artificiality on stage creates authenticity. [...] One can feel the charm of improvisation as well as the determination to achieve perfection.” Kulturspiegel, September 2003