Role exchange: Manuela and Bojan

role exchange

Artist and fruit seller exchange their roles for a while. While artist folds crates at the end of the market working hours, fruit seller starts a conversation with the audience about the world without money.
Amsterdam, Dappermarkt, October 2013
Every Nerve, DasArts

Role exchange – Bojan and Manuela

 – post-hoc note and transcript –

Looking for theatre at the market*, I found it in dismantling the “stage”. I approached a fruit seller, Manuela, and asked her if she would exchange places with me. I offered to fold the crates and pack up the fruit stall at the end of working hours, while she takes my place, and starts the conversation with the audience on world without money. Trading my labour at the stall for her labour in my performance made me unable to hear her – therefore I transcribe the conversation from the performance here from a video recording. There was a sense of relief in letting go of the control in meditative repetition of folding crates. The rest was up to Manuela:

What do you think the world would look like without money?


How different?

Nice. That’s what I thought, really nice.

Sorry what was the question?

The question is what do you think how the world’s gonna be without money.

So there’s no money at all

How do you think people are gonna be?

How do you think the’re gonna be towards each other?

Where you gonna work?

Where would you like to live?

[incomprehensible] no beds no houses?

No, everything is there, but just no money, so maybe you can barter.

[incomprehensible] and you can pay with work.

That’s what I thought, you can trade things.

One’s gonna make trousers, and the other’s gonna have apples

So you can exchange things. Because people ask me how is the world gonna be without money, and I thought: there’s gonna be a lot more respect for each other. Cause money changes people. Drugs alcohol, you can’t sell them. If you don’t have that, if you can’t buy there’s lot more respect, I think. People [incomprehensible] there’s no greed. That’s what I thought.

But people are gonna start trading drugs for apples.

Yes, well, that’s the next question.

What about the birds, they don’t have money, but they seem to be quite greedy

and happy.


Yes, these birds are. But I think they’re greedy because they are hungry. And people are greedy because they want more.

That’s a difference, yes.

And I think people are gonna be much nicer, that’s what I think, because you are not gonna earn money to have a bigger home, or you want to have two cars, or you want to go on holidays four times a year, you have enough.

Maybe things are going to have more value, the value of something, you have to figure out what the real value is, without the money.

That’s a good one.

Yes, money is just a way to put value on things. One euro, two euros.

[incomprehensible] you can buy the same thing for a different price. So the price now seems to tell you the value something has. But that’s not really true.

It’s symbolic.

What does it mean?

Yes what does it mean?

The man who asked me this question [incomprehensible]

I think I would never live here. I’d live somewhere where the sun is shining. Where people are slow, where you don’t have to rush, you’re not in a hurry, you can do things in your own piece, in your own time. And this is what you haven’t got in Holland.

But I’ve expected more questions from you. I’m talking. I’m gonna grab him. I’m gonna grab him.

So do you think it’s possible? [incomprehensible]

If you gonna make a movie of me, what am I gonna give you in exchange? A smile, friendliness, happiness. That’s all that matters, I think… It’s overwhelming, this… everyone is looking at me.

I have a question. So do you think that it is possible, the world without money?

It used to be, so many years ago, people used to trade things [incomprehensible]

I can’t believe in this. I think the people would be scared. I’m the one who doesn’t want to live with money. But maybe this thing is not gonna work out. And then I’m the stupid one and I’m gonna starve in the end. So if I can get some guarantee, like, it’s gonna be ok, for my kid, there’s enough to eat and everything, then… and enough for him to be happy, then it would…

but I think that this one [incomprehensible]

* The assignment of Vivi Tellas’ workshop “Found Theatre and the Urban Readymade” was to study the market at Dapper square in search of theatrically interesting stalls and characters, with whom we can develop a performance.