The Mercy Games

Jakob la Cour performed in the immersive performance by SIGNA.

In a continued exploration of the game structure, the first installment of the Mercy Games was played in a muddy camp of caravans beneath a large tree. A Player and a Playerette are relentlessly fighting over the uncertain privilege of moving to the next level of The Game, which involves an unnerving series of improvisations and tasks designed to please the menacing Game Masters. Though their fate is uncertain, the severity of the game’s stakes are clear as they dig a deep grave for the loser between rounds.

In the second installment of the Mercy Games, the Player carries the Playerette into battle again with equally severe stakes. Unable to bury her after the loss, he must bear the burden of her life and persist in playing round after round. Set between the rugged forest and the foreboding pillars of a motorway bridge, the last rounds of the Mercy Games is their chance at redemption and survival before the long and lonely winter invades the far North.

Date: 16th to 19th of August, 2004, nonstop
Place: A caravan camp under a large tree Magistratsparken in Malmö, Sweden.

 27th to 29th of August, 2004, nonstop
Place: A camp under a large motorway bridge, Röda Sten, Göteborg, Sweden

Press Quotes:
“It was like getting a snare around your neck. The word entertainment did not exist any longer, just you and the frightening possibility to enter a different world, mixed with your wish to run away.” (translated from Swedish)
– Astrid von Rosen, Danstidningen

“Sørensen works with fiction as using the identity of those present, but time and place follow the rules of the outside world. Through its open structure – everybody participating and observing simultaneously – it appears as a truly relational work of art with great interactional potential.” (translated from Swedish)
– Hans T. Sternudd, Nutida Dans


Concept, Direction and Set Design: Signa Sørensen (now Köstler)
Light: Iván Molina Carmona and Eva Ulvan Handberg
Production: SIGNA and Malmö Festival

Devising Ensemble: (in alphabetical order)
Arthur Köstler as Player
Eva Ulvan Handberg as Game Mistress (only Malmö)
Frank Bätge as Game Master
Iván Molina Carmona as Cam Boy
Jakob la Cour as Servant Boy
Signa Sørensen (now Köstler) as Playerette

© Photos by Iván Molina Carmona. Courtesy of SIGNA.