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Death Drive-in: A guided theatre through capitalism, consumer culture and our nervous system

Playful spoke with the creative duo, Riley Davidson and Lauri Lohi, about their new simulated diner concept "Death Drive-In". It is premiering the first week of May at Alte Münze.

Death Drive-in, please tell us about the concept and what the audience can expect!

"Death Drive-In is the campiest heavenly diner around; an existential simulation located in a void. Heralding back to capitalism's golden days, the piece discusses our current relationship with capitalism, consumer culture and its effects on our nervous systems." "First the participants are confronted by a simulated diner and four uncanny, queer hostesses called Steven. The audience's choices send them on a participatory journey where the line between real and surreal evaporates. In groups of 20-30 people, the audience walks through five phases of ritual theatre and the halls of Alte Münze guided by Steven."

Who are the artists behind it?

"The piece is conceptualized and directed by Riley Davidson (Berlin, They/them) in collaboration with Lauri Lohi (Fin/Swe, They/them). Riley is a queer non-binary performance artist, dancer and theatre maker based in Berlin. Their work spans many genres including immersive/participatory theatre, clowning, drag, contemporary dance and durational performance art. Through all shapes their work may take, vulnerability and agency of the audience members is integral to each piece they create. Riley uses participatory theatre as a tool to reimagine new futures on a collective level."

"Lauri works fluidly between the fields of dance, theatre and visual arts around Scandinavia and North Europe. With their starting point in street- and club-dance cultures, Lohi's art combines elements from physical theatre, absurd comedy and imaginative creatures to create experiential sneak peeks into alternative queer universes. Besides Death Drive-In, this spring Lohi can also be seen on the Finnish drama-series Dance Brothers streaming on Netflix on May 10th. "

Death Drive-In marks as the artist's third collaborative piece, previous ones including the vampire-drama Mea Culpa - If you were to live forever, would you recycle? (Sweden, 2021) and clown dance theatre Breakfast! (KAKE, Berlin, 2020).

We understand it as a performance that discusses capitalism and consumer culture, what is your view on the topic in relation to Berlin?

"Berlin is known for its underground club scene that has been built on the backs of the queer community and leveraged as a marketing tool for companies hoping to attract more tourists to Berlin and increase the city's profits."

"The aesthetics of this culture have been taken out of context and turned a community into a consumable. In this process those who are coming from working class and or marginalised experiences are having their existence parced down into a digestible, sell-able format while the prices of rent rise and the demands of the day to day hustle increase. This leaves our community vulnerable to stress, illness, and a poor quality of life while we struggle to meet the demands inflation has made. Death Drive-In is a characterisation of this trajectory and the piece offers not only tools for how to cope but also a space to collectively reimagine a better future."

The team behind Death Drive-in:

Director, performer - Riley Davidson @guttergucci

Producer, performer - Lauri Lohi @ooh_lauri

Performer - Fifi Fantome @fififantome

Performer - Johnny Questions @johnnyquestions

Costume designer - Elodie Carstensen @elodie.carstensen

Photography - Anna Poleteli @poletelianna

Set design - Sara Groh @saragroh

Death Drive-in will be hosted at Alte Münze between the 2-6th of May.


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