It is about love and its crises, about the beginning and end of a relationship. It may all be fiction, however, the presentation of the two performers, dancers, choreographers seems quite personal and intimate. (…) The content of their communication gives its own color to the dance element in the second act. When they slowly climb, or roll, over one another, when they jump in unison, one can’t help but sense that these bodies know each other well. The desire for authenticity is cleverly delivered by these two young performers. Frankfurter Rundschau
Love in the analog world. Naked like Adam and Eve they appear on stage, put on their costumes piece by piece to become man and woman, and then standing next to each other, they begin to talk about love in times of uncertainty. The smartly constructed, seemingly personal text, read off a piece of paper, leaves the audience in the dark as to what their actual relationship status may be. It talks about the significance of relationships, ways to live them, and reasons to end them. The narration slowly turns into dance, initially becoming more abstract and unpersonal, before (…) effectively embracing the melodramatic. First Life – a Melodrama examines theatrical forms and disguises in playful and clever ways, never losing track of the sincere quest underneath: for something within our initial, non-digital lives that really counts. Theater heute
The first question that arises for the two artists after their performance ends is usually one about their private togetherness. An interesting fact – and motivation for the two Düsseldorf alums of Gießen’s Applied Theatre Studies to create a multi-layered performance between dance and lecture. Automatically, the audience seems to perceive duo-protagonists on stage as a unit. Their interaction also results in an emotional, intellectual, aspired, and questioned togetherness of the performers in terms of emotion, eros, privacy, and responsibility. Billinger / Schulz, however, keep up a pokerface.
The joy in this, even if it may not seem quite joyful on first glance, consists in one’s own willingness to step into their carefully laid out traps. Even when the two of them become more open and emotional, we don’t quite believe the supposedly „true“ and ultimate history of their relationship. What we saw and heard, however, is a deeply moving, melancholy portrait of love, relationships and their inherent mortality. When the two unite to close the narrative circle on stage, fully nude, only to exit individually, it doesn’t seem to matter anymore whether they are, or were, a couple. The possibility of love, in the face of melancholy, is a hopeful message. Mannheimer Morgen
Or Billinger & Schulz, who in their quiet performance, First Life – a Melodrama, design and then dismantle a couple’s biography with much subtlety, for the audience to enjoy a play with repetition and divergence. Deutschlandradio
What they presented was an ordinary love story. It was a good thing and it was touching. Die Rheinpfalz
A stroke of luck, because their dance performance „First life“ zeros in on the trope of „relationships,“ which is quite popular within dance circles, but here it is done with an ironic twist. (…) The external becomes a metaphor for inwardness, the whimsical sobriety of their interaction becomes a symbol of the unfulfilled longing for love. choices – Kultur. Kino. Köln.
The itinerary becomes porous, unreal, and perhaps just fictitious. Anecdotes repeat and evolve. (…) The spacial distance between the bodies decreases in a choreography of rolling around on top each other, where the two performers grab a hold of one another in some sort of slow motion loop, tossing and turning, their bodies overlapping. But even though they’re caught in close embrace, they still seem strangely disconnected. Their faces distort, their expressions freeze in grimaces of glee (or malice?) and pain (or terror?) and it becomes hard to differentiate between physical attraction and repulsion. Within their movements, they appear like characters in a computer game, isolated even from themselves. (…)
The performance begins and concludes with clear in and out points, a choreography that perhaps enables the possibility of something that initially seemed unachievable for failed relationships, as they’re met with social inacceptance: a beginning and an end. lauttraum blog