Ann-Elisabeth Wolff/ PRESSEMITTEILUNG euro-scene Leipzig, November 2015
Der zweite Preis für „Das beste deutsche Tanzsolo“ 2015 ging an den Choreografen und Schauspieler Tobias M. Draeger aus Wien/ München mit der Performance DAILY MADNESS.

Arnd Wesemann/ tanz, April 2015

arndwesemann_1arndwesemann_2
Ditta Rudle/ tanz.at, April 2015 (Auszug)

Der tägliche Wahnsinn beschäftigt den Tänzer Tobias Draeger schon einige Jahre. Er perfektioniert sein Solo „Daily Madness“ immer mehr und ist doch noch nicht ganz fertig. Im Raum 33, dem von Elio Gervasi zur Verfügung gestellten Probenraum, zeigte Draeger eindrucksvoll, wie er versucht den Wahnsinn zu bekämpfen. Anfangs mehr hockend als aufrecht stehend, sucht er mit der hell leuchtenden Schreibtischlampe, die er sich als Partnerin gekürt hat, den Raum zu erkunden. Immer wieder zieht er sich in eine Ecke zurück und richtet das Licht gegen das Publikum. Leuchtet ihm in Augen und Hirn und macht es dennoch blind. Der Tänzerkörper verschwindet im Nichts. Der flammend rote Horror erfasst mich, wenn der Performer die gleißend helle Lampe in den Mund nimmt und als Feuerschlucker eine glühende Fratze zeigt. Nur wenige stille, sanfte Momente umspült von romantischen Klängen lassen Entspannung zu. Draeger ist gnädig, lässt uns nicht allein mit dem Horror, erlöst uns am Ende durch einen goldenen Regen. Genau besehen, ein Schauer von gelben Notizzetteln. Beschrieben sind sie nicht, keine Lösung in Sicht. Egal, Draeger weiß Effekte zu setzen und die Spannung zu halten, agiert gekonnt mit Licht und Schatten und hat auch seine Partnerin, die Lampe, im Griff. Dass er ein hervorragender Tänzer ist, bestätigen nicht nur die Preise, die er in Wien und München erhalten hat, sondern auch sein Streben nach Perfektion.

Ilva Lorence/ afisha, 20. November 2014

Games with darkness, feelings and reality
Lately Riga has become a destination for several independent theatre and cinema festivals and projects, which is delighting, because Latvian spectators can enjoy something really different without even leaving the country. The evening of 15th of November was a special one, because Tobias M. Draeger was performing his only show in Riga. German director/ choreographer Tobias uses various kinds of genres in his performance, that’s why his performance is so much different than anything else seen before. His solo performance[ Daily Madness interlocks elements from a circus, an experience from acting in cinema and virtuosity of a body. The theme of this performance is connected to our daily lives and things which we are not noticing anymore because they have turned self[evident and every[day. This daily life captures and holds us in some sort of a cage. In his show the artist deranges the common and usual relations, and borders between alive and lifeless, by revealing completely different world, which has been just next to us all the time. It is almost like being in the session at the psychologist, where, by looking from a different point of view I am being introduced with the other side of the life. It would be hard to describe this performance without figurative images, because all activities, made by choreographer, are abstract and they cause different emotions to each spectator. At the beginning of a performance the light goes out. The room is pitch dark, where nothing is seen. It lasts exactly so long that brings a little uncomfortable feeling and realization that each single detail will have a meaning in this show. Table lamps light bulb goes on, but the light is very weak therefore reveals only a small delineation of an actor. Most part of the show is happening in twilight, maintaining some sort of a dream atmosphere. In this game Tobias involves big table, a lamp, sticky notes and pencils. In his own way the artist makes these objects alive and gives them a chance to live their own lives. Likewise he does it with himself and kind of lets that the body leads him instead of his mind. I felt like a little child who sees things for the first time and does not know what to do with them, or what they are meant for, and that gives a lot of space for expression. During the show the actor talked only a little bit and it had a secondary meaning, because his movements and facial expressions said much more. Wild dances in the shadow and surrealistic music in the background generated an impression that he is not coming from this world. Each movement, light nuance, sound of the music did not let the spectator to relax. During the dances it was hard to just sit aside, because there was this strong feeling to join in.

Maybe that was something what was missing for me. I was not involved in the game, which now is such a common phenomenon in many performances. The performance awakened me, fulfilled with energy, but in the end I did not know where to put all of that. Long time after the show I was observing things around me and thinking[ do I really need all of this, and – haven’t I become addicted from them? Take a look at your everyday life!

Krists Lagzdiņš/ Veto Magazine, 12. November 2014
To shed a light on the madness.
Production Company PigeonBridge still in the months of the frost continues to introduce spectators to the new and talented foreign stage art professionals. These artists share a common trait[ using forms and expression methods of various inter[genres. On 15th of November at 19:00 in Architecture and media center H2O6 (Ūdens street 6) german choreographer Tobias M. Draeger (Draeger u.Co) will be performing his solo piece Daily Madness.
Astonishing freedom on the stage[ that’s how his way of performing could be described, it includes stage design, cinema and new circus genres.. Zanda Seņkova, who is one of the organizers from Pigeon Bridge ,,tells about the show”: Tobias reaches the maximal effect with minimal resources[ there is the space of the performance, two meter long hand[made table, one source of a light and him. Personally I think that this show is like diving in to your[ self, an attempt to be a bit objective towards your own personality. It would be good if the spectators not only will watch the show as a movie, but would let themselves to feel and experience it, therefor bringing out questions and thoughts about their own daily madness. This artist could bring new kind of experience to Latvian audience and artists as well, who often, because of everyday hardships and the big workload, don’t have a time to stop and think about themselves, their creative potential, and about who they are and what they want to say. Besides it applies not only to people from creative profession background. Tobias works a lot with mind maps; he searches dark corners in himself and sheds light in there, so we can see something we haven’t experienced before.

Few days before the show we present an interview with Tobias M. Draeger.

Recently you came back from India, where you taught contemporary dance and choreography to children. Looking back on that time, what are your feelings?
Indescribable. All classes where happening in Himalayan mountains[ being more than 4000m above the sea level. At first I had to get used to climate changes, different food and rhythm of the day. Recently I have been involved in various projects, which made my everyday quite intensive, but when I got to India, all of that disappeared. There were no social media, internet nor modern technologies. On first days I felt a discomfort, a need for all that, but all the people whom I met and nature rather quickly accustomed me to the situation in which I was. I was teaching for a group of children where the youngest was 5 years old and the
oldest[ 18. For a long time I had to figure out what would be interesting and useful for all of them. We tried to develop skills of coordination, body movement and technical basics of stage art.
Was there something that surprised you in India?
I was astonished how independent are the young people, whom I met[ in really early age they become responsible for themselves. I had a chance to sense that survival spirit, which they carry inside themselves. And the second revelation came about me. At one point I realized, that I don’t follow the scheduled tasks, exercises, because I was prepossessed by all things which I felt and experienced over there. It was a constant interaction process, which helped to continue. Children in India are very quick[witted. If someone could provide at least a small part from that environment and equipment, which we have in Europe, the result on the stage would be unspeakable. The most accurately, what I experienced in India, describes their working capacity and desire to develop.
I think that I was the one who learned the most. I had to adapt to unusual environment, cooperate with people of different ages, who come from totally different culture. All of that fascinated me and reduced the prejudice. Once again I understood how much more you can give to the person and how much more the result succeeds, if all of involved ones are honest and interested in what they do.
Did you want to be on the stage since your childhood?
No, in my childhood I was shy, therefor I didn’t thought, that I would be able to perform in front of people. Not even talking about, that I would be performing on the stage alone. During my school years I was interested in all the technical things[ light projections, stage arrangement. But then by an accident I met a director who wanted to see me acting in a cinema. “What? I have never done it before!” I said to her. But she was confident, about seeing me in her movie. I agreed. During the shooting, I met people whose understanding of the stage art corresponded with mine. Therefor I don’t have any classical acting education. Directors, whom I collaborated with, showed me how to develop stage art skills.
What was it that pulled you in to the stage art field, and is not letting you leave?
Choreography, dance, and stage movement[ these things help me to explore myself, to tear down minds restricted boundaries. In a short time period I can reach the next level where other restricted walls would be. I hope that spectators also will become freer in their thoughts and their expressions.
People who are involved in stage art sometimes say that it is hard to divide their personal (reality) and characters life. How it`s for you?
It depends on that character which I have to play in the performance. I don’t enjoy seeing shows which are too private for actors or directors. Accordingly spectators’ space for imagination is being reduced. And at one point everything what is happening on the stage is alienating the spectators[ the wall is being built between the stage and the audience seats. Audience plays an important role in the performances which I make, or perform. We mutually interact and communicate; therefor I have to do everything, so that there would not be any borders between us. It is important for me to let the audience live through everything I do on stage with me, but the space for an interpretation is left as well. It’s not easy to keep free interpretation possibilities for each spectator, but I am trying to practice that.
What is your show “Daily Madness” about?
The title already says a lot[ the main topic is about daily chaos and destruction of minds controlling factors. However the title can be perceived differently. Currently people are able to experience rapid emotional amplitude in a really short amount of time, thereof came the idea of Daily Madness. Walking down the street, I noticed those eyes which were suppressed and full of stress, that’s why I decided to show how a person becomes trapped in the power of darkness, but in the same time[ to show the other side as well[ the chance to live without our mind constraining walls.
What is the reaction from the audience towards “Daily Madness”?
Mutually there is a close contact established. In this performance I sense whether the spectators are breathing or not. Some parts in the show are built so that people in the audience feel the stress[ then it seems that nobody is breathing anymore. But soon again I am taking them out of this situation and the breathing resumes. Last time when I performed, I saw couple of children, who came along their parents. It is quite dark during the show, because the only light source is the table lamp. Although I have received letters from adults, who admit that some parts in the performance where frightening, yet for children some moments appeared like magic, because of the impressive effects which can be achieved with only one lamp.
What was the process of creation like?
It was a big challenge for me. There was no financial support for this performance[ there was only me and the idea. I knew already from the start, that this idea must be realized. I was certain that the end result will be approved. In art you should follow the idea, not – the money.
What do you think the spectators can gain from watching “Daily Madness”?
Each one will see and understand the show differently, but while watching there is a chance to find a strong resemblance, a link between your own life and[ what is happening on the stage[ of course if you are opened to that. After this show I have received letters from people who have seen it, saying that they are thinking about Daily Madness for several days in the row already. The performance is not created in order to impose my viewpoint, but so that through what is seen people could reflect and get closer to their personal traits.