Ambivalences come to the rescue (…) Set against the grandiose, multilevel political gestures, there are especially three pieces who couldn’t be more timely [at the German Dance Platform]. In „Violent Event“ Verena Billinger and Sebastian Schulz dedicate themselves to the ubiquitous societal and medial violence; they find a disturbing form for it, one that initially acknowledges the reality within which it is unfolding: the stage. Violence, with its ultimate ramifications, isn’t a possibility here, because it would result in serious injuries. Conversely, violence can only be enacted on the theater stage, can only be played, which makes it susceptible to accusations of belittlement. This dichotomy is the source of Billinger/Schulz’ series of violent games that range from the simple throwing of a ball to waterboarding and paintball shooting. Every round commences with the „perpetrator“ announcing to the „victim“ what he or she is about to do, always staying within the mutually agreed upon rules of the game. Yet with every round, the line between playful and serious becomes more and more blurred, their punching power increases, before the participants casually turn to the next game. Above all, this kind of procedure provokes questions, without offering answers. Questions about our unreflected consumption of medial violence, as well as questions about the fine line after which the label „violence“ must be applied. Theater heute

For a couple of years now Billinger & Schulz have mastered this form of physical action that’s devoid of motivation and moral context. (…) And it’s surprising how this withholding of judgment on the choreographers’ part continues to pose moral questions about violence: one begins to ponder the boundary between the glorification of violence and its criticism; between one’s own curiosity and repulsion; or the age-old dilemma of art, whether violence is in fact a justifiable aesthetic strategy. A strong, often uncomfortable – and at times surprisingly funny evening. Kölner Stadtanzeiger 

Avert one’s eyes from the horrors on stage? Definitely not! Instead, a continued suppression of the urge to jump up and do something. The violent event is a theater play, the audience is playing the part of the voyeur. The choreographer duo managed to create an important evening (…) Five protagonists enact variations on power and powerlessness. The audience members will need to find answers within themselves. (…) Thankfully, the subject of gender-based violence wasn’t put up for discussion here. Wiry, petite women hit defenseless men, three people against one, some movements are reminiscent of wrestling matches. Throughout, the formations of violence are what’s important here, not the individual protagonists. NRZ

Does the label “violent act” still apply, if such an act is unambiguously consensual between the parties? A question that tends to be asked primarily in court. And it may be only one of many questions that will likely illuminate the audience’s synaptic pathways when exposed to the “Violent Event” fabricated by Verena Billinger and Sebastian Schulz. The performers Patricia Gimeno, Frank Koenen, Sanna Lundström, Lea Martine, and Nicolas Niot gather on the white dance floor, fully concentrated and with a friendly smile on their face; negotiating their next moves: “All right, why don’t you lie down over there”, “I’m going to start with something small.” Then they pull each other across the room by pulling each other’s skin, kicking and slapping, beating each up other with heavy metal baseball bats. (…) To the members of the audience at Mousonturm Frankfurt, within the confined space of the theater where all violence is “only” an act, it must seem extreme, terrible, abhorrent. (…) Something hits home, and it goes beyond the crudest of images. There are also the hanging question behind it. (…) One of their trademarks is their affinity for thought, for posing specific questions and then translating them into choreography, a theater of motion. (…) After all, the ligament between stage design and mental image and all the thought processes necessary to bridge that gap, that is the “Violent Event”. (…) And the images that unfold inside our heads are much more gruesome yet, compared to what we actually see before us. Imagination and also playfulness, as “Violent Event” points out, especially through its decidedly matter-of-fact arrangements, can become close cousins to violence. We almost guessed it: nothing’s ever truly innocent. FAZ 

Those who suffered through the “Violent Event” by duo, Verena Billinger & Sebastian Schulz, performed at Mounsonturm, will lean back and relax. This time around, five men and women perform on one another acts of violence, such as waterboarding, as if it were a didactic tutorial for some sort of ecumenical youth gathering. Billinger and Schulz, whose background isn’t dance, are an example of the kind of dilettantism that this year’s Tanzplattform has made its deliberate mission. Süddeutsche Zeitung

The audience’s imagination is utterly exposed, their imagination translates, creates images, remembers, and fills in the blanks. Sometimes a curtain obstructs our view onto the events, like a smudgy, semi-blind window pane. Behind it, a space blanket, hit by stage light and with someone hectically moving it, looks like fire. One expects something horrible to happen when celebrities start waving from a monitor, as if their waving little hands only momentarily abandoned hitting someone. tanz

We, however, resemble the live frog in the boiling water, unable to realize that the temperature is rising, until it’s too late. (…) Great kick-of for day one of Tanzplattform. Frankfurter Neue Presse