Meg Stuart
Damaged Goods
Jozef Wouters/Decoratelier
TANZNETZ, Phantomschmerz und Katharsis - Frank Weigand (02/09/2007) [ German ]
DE STANDAARD, Flasbacks of a lost love - Danielle De Regt (09/06/2007)

Awkwardness rarely becomes so tangible as in the duet 'Maybe Forever' of Meg Stuart and Philippe Gehmacher.

Philipp Gehmacher and Meg Stuart met each other little more than ten years ago during a workshop. Stuart had already had her great breakthrough with Disfigure Study and No Longer Readymade. Gehmacher still had to position himself on the map with his 'Incubator-cycle'. Since then they both marked the field of dance in a very unique way.

At first sight they don't have a lot in common. The American choreographer is something of an iconoclast, while the young Austrian stands for a movement language sprung out of distilled despair. Yet they find each other in a fascination for dislocation and disruption. That shared partiality shows up in Maybe Forever, the result of their meeting on stage.

Stuart and Gehmacher share the stage with singer and guitar-player Niko Hafkenscheid. He serves as the contemporary minstrel who expresses the tragedy of life in lyrical poetry. Picking his guitar he timidly tells of loss and longing. His songs belong to the depths of the night, when loneliness is the only companion left at the bar.

In between the songs Gehmacher and Stuart play with expectations that are never fulfilled. They slip away from each other's wavering embraces. Caresses die away before they even touch the skin. Sometimes they do take shelter in each other's arms, but the intimacy and warmth that shat should be found there, cool down before it even got the chance to heat up. They chase shadows: their own's and the other's.

Maybe Forever resembles at first sight a montage of flasbacks of a love long lost, as is used in films. They often serve as turning point in the story, or as a way to dwell on what has happened.
The pair on stage grasp similar moments of melancholy, live them or comment on them. At the same time, their musings stay aloof. All that stirs underneath remains indefinable. The same goes for the future. The loss still has to find its own place, but where exactly? In the meantime the awareness of finity grows.

All of that results in a feeling of discomfort that seeps in the whole of the performance. It's a feeling that unobtrusively creeps upon the audience, and finally conquers it, an effect both of them regularly aim at in their own creations.

Artistically, Gehmacher andStuart have put their doors wide open for each other, without losing track of their own qualities. This creation joins Stuarts spectrum of atmospheres and Gehmachers emotional rigidity in a way that enables them both to experience a new side of themselves, and to show that.

translation: Dominike Van Besien

ETCETERA, The tombstone of our desire - Lieve Dierckx (09/2007)
DE STANDAARD, From rain to pulp - Danielle De Regt (17/03/2007)

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