Tanz in August Festival, Berlin 2002
Schaubuhne am Leniner Platz
30 August 2002
Concept, Direction: Meg Stuart. Set Design,
Costumes: Anna Viebrock. Music: Paul Lemp.
Text: Damaged Goods, Tim Etchells, Katharine Jones, David Wojnarowicz.
Video: Chris Kondek.
Performance and Co-creation:
Simone Aughterlony, Joséphine Evrard, Davis Freeman, Andreas Müller, Vania Rovisco, Valéry Volf, Thomas Wodianka.
by Diane Busuttil
A great opening image of what I coined 'the angry
spider'. All seven performers, actors and dancers, lying face down on the floor with their heads in the centre, chanting ranting and raving to eachother like a horizontal scrum (as in football). Slowly the bodies began to move their restless legs and the image breaks down like the deconstruction of a scientific formula. This disintergration continues on a phychological and emotional level expressed through intimate, ideosyncratic and volotile movements, swaying between truth and manipulation.
Gradually the dancers disperse into solitary spaces and interact only by hearling themselves at
eachother with great velocity, the intensity in the music rising to the meet the pace of the dancers? heatbeats. The dancers are reduced to creatures in their primal yearnings for meaning. Run - scream, come together - fall apart, shut up - talk to me. Random thoughts and actions with included distractions as a reminder of
the silence that can never be. The existential
confessions of the solo soul wade through a scope of emotions to seek meaning to the madness within their surroundings.
The set design is an extremely desolate urban space, unfinished and incomplete, matching the ideas that present themselves throughout the piece. There is an observation box to the right of the set from which dancers can view performers in the main space and make comments via a microphone. To me, this white box represented many things; at first embrassing the role of voyeur, then as judge or inner critic, and at
other times simply a place to rest, observe and/or imitate the dancers in the main space.
Conflict - contradition, where is the privacy in
this turmultuous space - Conflict - no resolution,
running away or running toward? Occassionally their eyes engage directly with the audience. Are we one and the same? Are they merely mirroring our thoughts? Pedestrian clothes and occassional pedestrian moves.
Singular - disparate, LISTLESS, unfocused and
direct. The dancers' land apon life in a scope of possible emotive states and it discoveres them along the way, occasionally observing themselves in a calmer state of rest, wait and play. Ideosyncratic movements speak of inner conflict and struggle. Stop. Doubt. Boredom.
Projected images of a series of empty rooms; the
possibilities awaiting like an eager artist to a
blank canvas. The performers are vulnerable and exposed, scrutinized by a video camera and one dancer who is selling their traits to the audience (reference to reality television). The coin flips and the presenter sells her wares to the audience, confessing that she will do anything you desire to make you love her, the empty room inside of her is waiting and wanting to
be filled, suggesting ?what shall I do/who shall I be to make you love me?
More guilt-free confessions from Davis Freeman as he closes the gap between himself and audience, allowing us all to bask in the knowledge that we are human, we make mistakes, and sometimes we just don't care at whose expense.
Alibi reflects ideas drawing from current cultural
stimuli and brings to the fore the act of
self-observation, voyeurism and scrutiny of others. The ultimate question being, what do we hold on to to keep ourselves together? I enjoyed the loaded meaning in their listless and bored moments, I asked myself if there is ever really any peace to be found in solitude and how many
distractions and inner contradictions does one have to overcome before arriving at the point of stillness and inner peace?
The performance is bookended with a physical state
of continuous chaos. Although there was no feel good happy ending, I felt completely satisfied by the forms of truth the performers revealed during this epic 2 hour and 15 minute performance.. The closing image of each dancers' shaking body reverberates the inner dis-ease that inevidably remains. Here I am reminded again of the angry spider that is perhaps struggling inside of them trying to get out.