Part performance, part therapy: Czech theater group lets you leave a message from lockdown

The "Voices" virtual voicemail project offers an outlet for expression and human connection during these difficult days.

Ify Nsoha

Written by Ify Nsoha
Published on 09.03.2021 16:21 (updated on 09.03.2021)

On Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m., “Voices,” a virtual voicemail project, will launch in the Czech Republic.

Created by a Prague-based performance group, the unique shared experience allows callers to “leave and share questions, thoughts, frustrations, and emotions...things that the body cannot hold any longer and needs to release and share.”

Voices is a continuation of the dance project, Duets, created by the Temporary Collective for dance venue PONEC, which explored encounters between strangers – spectators, dancers, performers. It provided a look into what human contact is and connected people from diverse social groups in a very direct way.

The Team
The Temporary Collective.

The Temporary Collective is an independent platform that produces projects and performances of different forms – from dance to theatre, film productions, and installations.

In the midst of the pandemic, Voices is now giving people a similar opportunity in the online space: on Tuesdays from 6:00-10:00 p.m. users visit the website, enter a topic of discussion, and start recording. The interface is available in both Czech and English.

Dancer and choreographer Tereza Ondrová and director Petra Tejnorová put together various “temporary teams” to work on various projects during lockdown, and Voices is their latest. Tejnorová and Sodja Lokter developed the concept for the virtual voicemail project.

Duets - photo by Marek Bartoš
Duets - photo by Marek Bartoš

"Even if I just listen to other people's messages, I have an indirect dialogue with them - I perceive and think about the other person,” Tejnorová told CTK.

“Voices” does not offer direct conversation, but opportunities for dialogue. Leaving a message in Voices is a form of thinking through engaging an imaginary other. I don’t think of it like a project, but a shared experience. We’ve created this space for the people.”

Lockdown has been hard for many people in many different ways. Isolation also adds the difficulty of not feeling one can truly express their frustrations with others. The Temporary Collective hopes that, through “slowing down, stopping to think, and listening,” those who use the Voices service can better cope with the present situation.

To participate in "Voices" this evening, visit the Temporary Collective website.

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