Elpida Orfanidou is a performer and a pharmacist. Her piece Pharmacist or Balloonist at the P.A.F (Jun 9 and 10, 20:00 at Ballhaus Ost) is a two-hour choreographic herbal laboratory where the artist and guests make homeopathic remedies, dance, discuss and tell stories.
Can you tell me a little about your piece Pharmacist or Balloonist?
I found myself working parttime in an Apotheke in Berlin Spandau. Almost at the same time I was faced with the severe sickness of my mother which made me think. How can choreography be a practice of including all life possible – pharmacy, science, tradition, alternative healing, herbs, recipes, personal stories, dance, friends, strangers, objects, magic? It’s almost mystical. At the same time the work is interested in the encounter with the other, whether this is a colleague on stage or an audience member on the other side of the pharmacy counter.
What is the relationship between performance and pharmacy?
It lies in the magic of transformation. Can the hands of a “performance pharmacist” transform the poison of time into a medicine of timelessness? The poison of forced productivity into a medicine of deliberate creativity? The poison of labour into a medicine of work?
This format seems very collaborative – how do you balance openness and structure?
This has been one of the biggest mysteries of this work. It has to do simultaneously with rules, tools, intuition and the unknown. So it is more or less like science itself. At the end it feels like a practice of dosing, in which the danger of producing a poison is always around the corner. As we all know: Soladosis facit venenum – the dose makes the poison, as Paracelsus said. Will you take the risk to try it?