Red Rooms

Seven episodes about a precarious relationship:
Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf
Inspired by Louise Bourgeois’ installation Red Room (Child) and Red Room (Parents).
A musical theatre play about truth and lies, lust and abuse, love and power.
For voices, chamber ensemble, recorder trio, Revox tape machine, radios, cassette players and electronic.



Premiere: November 2nd 2022 (then 4th, 5th and 6th) at the Wien Modern Festival. Premiere venue: Schauspielhaus

AngĂ©lica CastellĂł Idea, concept, composition, musical direction | Miguel Ángel Gaspar Concept, direction, movement | Ximena Escalante Dramaturgy | Ximena Escalante, AngĂ©lica CastellĂł, Miguel Ángel Gaspar Libretto | Bartholomaeus WĂ€chter Stage design | Anna Hostek Costumes | Arnold “noid” Haberl Sound engineering | Oliver Mathias Kratochwill, Christoph Pichler in collaboration with Jan Machacek, Miguel Ángel Gaspar Lighting | Kira David, Valerie Holfeld Production management ǀ Ariel Uziga Assistant director and choreographer ǀ
Theresa Dlouhy, Isabelle Duthoit Little Red Riding Hood (voice) | Romain Bischoff Wolf (voice) | Raphaela DanksagmĂŒller, Thomas List, Maja Osojnik Grandmother (recorders, voice) | JĂ©rĂŽme Noetinger Other Wolf 1 (Revox, tapes, electronics) | Jan Machacek Other Wolf 2 (live video)
PHACE | Victor Lowrie viola, Roland Schueler violoncello, Maximilian Ölz double bass, electric bass, Reinhold Brunner bass clarinet, Alvaro Collao León saxophone, Stefan Obmann trombone, Berndt Thurner drums |
Radio voices: Wolfram Berger Salvador Novo | Hagnot Elischka Old Wolf | Christian Reiner Young Wolf | Martina Spitzer Grandmother | Sabine Marte Little Red Riding Hood | Natascha Gangl Tame Little Riding Hood | Miki Malör Forest | Elisabeth Findeis Neutral Voice

Production i5haus with the kind support of Stadt Wien Kultur, BMKÖS, Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte (FONCA) Mexico, SKE der Austro Mechana | Co-production Wien Modern, PHACE, Musica Strasbourg, La Muse en Circuit, ORF Ö1 Kunstradio | Cooperation Schauspielhaus Wien



Color is stronger than language. It’s a subliminal communication.
Red is an affirmation at any cost—regardless of the dangers in fighting—of contradictions, of aggressions. It symbolizes the intensity of the emotions involved.
(Louise Bourgeois). 

In RED ROOMS, inner and outer spaces are created, whereby “inside” does not stand only for the psyche any more than “outside” stands only for society or culture. They are—as it were—existential places of experience in various degrees of abstraction. The audience is thus, seduced to become “listening voyeurs” who dive into a claustrophobic immersion; into worlds of innocence, danger, life, death, sex, and eros.

Two different layers
or versions
or plots of Little Red Riding Hood interact in one sounding/moving animalistic musical theatre play: Little Red is a mature woman now, a survivor. The wolf (werewolf) is a being at the end of his existence; sick and old but still powerful in his perversity. The grandmother, in her passivity, is ageless. Every character is not only one version of itself; everybody is at least two, three, or a myriad.
RADIO: On the radio, the Mexican writer Salvador Novo, poet, chronicler, radio lover, Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis fan, self-declared homosexual, and last but not least, socialite; hosts a well-known radio program on Radio Roja.

This evening, he has invited some special guests: Little Red Riding Hood, her grandmother, the young and the old wolves, and the forest itself. Through Novo’s questions—especially those regarding their relationship and attitude to the “Little Red Scandal”—uneasy circumstances gradually come to light, partly painful yet absurd, poetic, whimsical, and shrill.

So you think that what happened between you, wolves and Little Red Riding Hood is a fairy tale?

Just because it’s a fairy tale doesn’t mean it’s a lie. And just because it’s a lie, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

The question would be: how can we learn to live with a wolf in the house?
(Little Red Riding Hood)

What’s so important about a girl who is menstruating meeting a hungry wolf who worships her? It’s so normal; it happens every day.

There are shameful things in fairy tales. Good-night stories are very sad, or worse than sadness.
(Little Tamed Riding Hood)

If the world is so brutal: let’s be brutal.
(Little Red Riding Hood)


ROOMS: On stage, we find three cages and one family. Mother, son, and granddaughter interact, move, communicate, make noises, sing, listen to the radio, drink, eat, sleep, love, kiss, fuck, vomit, shit
 Meanwhile, during the radio interviews, news and ads of Radio Roja—pre-recorded and only audible in “off”—are easily recognizable in their original languages (German, English, French, Spanish). The “sung” language on stage is a mixture of artificial languages, onomatopoeia, noises, literary quotations, and “snippets” from personal diaries.



Seven episodes, images, atmospheres

The seven episodes are “stages” for certain behavior patterns of a familiar, moral or erotic nature. Each of the seven acts will evoke a particular atmosphere and highlight one or some of the characters.

The actors are three entities. Each of these entities is never a single person, but two, three, or five; a schizophrenic diversity that, as the human soul, it can be a multi-headed chimera.

These partly imaginary, partly real spaces (acoustic or physical) are inspired by Louise Bourgeois’ installation Red Rooms from 1994. For Bourgeois, the color red represents blood, violence and danger, shame, jealousy, malice, and guilt. According to Bourgeois, this work would represent different kinds of pain: physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and intellectual. It deals with the pleasure of the voyeur, with the allure of seeing and being seen.

The stage is simultaneously a place of memories, events, a crime scene, and a temple. Places that are at the same time concrete and archetypal, like a bed, a cage, and the forest, meet objects like spy cameras, radios, and other enigmatic apparatuses. Under the direction of Miguel Angel Gaspar, the musicians’ bodies perform a panoply of physical expressions and body theatres—movements, tremblings, dances, jumps, touchings, escapes. They reveal a wide variety of perspectives and show emotional moments that often remain hidden to the participating observers.

The ensemble, the soloists, the field recordings, and the other pre-recorded sounds play on all levels. They show the audience outer landscapes, intimate atmospheres of the spaces and rooms, the beings’ emotional state, and the penetration and mingling of the role images co-constructing the respective spheres, either meandering back and forth between them or commenting on them.
The music and sounds are a composition in a very CastellĂł-language: mixtures and wonderings between minimalistic materials by the time that long unisons stroll through micro intervals and small movements. Slowness and anti-virtuosismo; quotations, the use and abuse of early music (Gibbons, Ockeghem, Monteverdi), pop music and other objets trouvĂ©s, which then go to extremes, repeatedly breaking through this withdrawn attitude with walls of noise, rock, drones, sine waves, imperceptible low frequencies, capricious radio sounds and other “audio greetings from the Aether,” trying to move the most resistant cells inside the bodies of the listeners.

The live electronics—the Revox tape machine—create the (surrounding) space or, in other words, the gut through which everything passes. The guts in which the incoming (raw) materials are eaten and transformed.