Meg Stuart
Damaged Goods
Jozef Wouters/Decoratelier
TAGES-ANZEIGER, Radikale Körperforscherin - Andreas Tobler (22/01/14) [ German ]
TANZ, Choreografin des Jahres Meg Stuart - Elena Phillip (15/08/14) [ German ]
DEUTSCHLANDFUNK, Mikroskopische Tänze - Franziska Buhre (27/03/14) [ German ]
TAGESSPIEGEL, The crack in my body - Sandra Luzina (28/03/14)

Hebbel am Ufer: The dancer and choreographer Meg Stuart performs her first evening length solo Hunter.

‘People say that I’m shy.’ This is how Meg Stuart begins her monologue, turning to face the public with some trepidation. The American choreographer, who has been living in Berlin for several years now, has created her first evening length solo at the age of 49. Hunter is a search for, and a testing of, yourself – and undoubtedly Stuart’s most personal creation to date. With her unremitting distortions and displacements she proves, yet again, the expressive power of the body.
However, the evening’s big surprise is that Meg Stuart herself reads aloud a lengthy text – and at the end even goes as far as to sing. She explains her so-called embarrassment: ‘I have not trusted words for a long time.’

And then she begins to talk: about her parents, who were both directors and who ran a community theatre. ‘I have seen so many bad actors’, she admitted, ‘that I promised myself never to say a word on stage.’

The performance is about the memories that have brought her to this point, and that she has poured into words. Meg Stuart explores how experiences leave their imprints on your body – a constantly recurring theme with her.

In Hunter, she again opts for a multimedia approach and works with a range of materials. At the beginning we see her sitting at a table, lost in thought, cutting up black and white photos from her personal photo album and then arranging the cuttings. In one photo, the faces of a mother and child are replaced by animal heads; other photos are painted over with nail varnish, or have shiny paper stuck on top of them. The soundtrack is a collage of different musical works, sounds and voices.
Two women speak about the fallout from a divorce, another woman reports on a feminist who tries and fails to ruffle a playboy bunny. A broken male voice lectures about the need for change. Private life and philosophy, humour and profundity go hand in hand.

The scenographer Barbara Ehnes has built a spacious construction for Meg Stuart, constructed from Plexiglas and metal tubes, which covers the stage like a screen. As a result, the space is already alive with meaning when Meg Stuart finally takes to the stage. She then lies down on the ground and starts, as though she is charged with electricity. Her body is under huge pressure. She flounders and shakes, throws her arms around and jumps up. She is totally subject to the uncontrolled movements of her body. In Hunter it is as though her insides are being torn. The variation in her syntax of movement is unique. The scene in which she only uses her arms is overwhelming. Her arms begin to lead a disturbing life of their own. They knot together, become entwined, break free again and only allow themselves to calm down when they are forced to do so. Creating phantasmagorias of the body that are so grotesque and amusing is Meg Stuart’s greatest strength.

In the flickering projections, you see the father, or the young daughter showing off her first dance steps. Chris Kondek’s videos have an almost surreal effect. They show Meg Stuart revolving as if in a trance, or a Stuart who is exploring her body as if it were a strange object. Meg Stuart moves between extremely divergent emotional states. For example, she suddenly sinks into an extremely colourful patchwork tent with a series of side-arms. Childhood is never completely over. At a different point, she takes to the stage with her upper body bared, hiding behind a long, blonde wig.

Meg Stuart is one of the most influential choreographers of the contemporary dance scene. Since she has been linked to HAU Hebbel am Ufer as an artist in residence, her career has once again been given a boost. Her creations can now be seen regularly, and are almost always sold out. In Hunter she now shows that she is not only a collector, but also a hunter. She picks up the things she finds and digs into the deepest layers of memory. The evening is a little like a séance, but its painful obsessiveness diminishes at the end. The dancer accepts her past, which has a liberating effect. She concludes with an amusing speech in which she sends all those shamans, life coaches and craniosacral therapists packing.

Translation Helen Simpson

TAZ, The choreographic principle of the collage Taz - Katrin Bettina Müller (28/03/14)
BERLINER ZEITUNG, In Fellstiefeln singt Meg Stuart sogar - Michaela Schlagenwerth (28/03/14) [ German ]
MOUVEMENT n° 73, Sketches/Notebook - Jean-Marc Adolphe (10/03/2014) [ French ]
DIE DEUTSCHE BÜHNE, The worlds of Meg Stuart - Anna Volkland (27/03/14)
DIE DEUTSCHE BÜHNE, Les mondes de Meg Stuart - Anna Volkland (27/03/14) [ French ]
P.S., Slalom - Thierry Frochaux (25/09/14) [ German ]
DE STANDAARD, Meg Stuart's sensational hall of mirrors, Charlotte de Somviele
UTOPIA PARKWAY, Beautiful cutting up and reassembling the past: ‘Hunter’ by Meg Stuart/Damaged Goods
DFDanse, Un chef d’oeuvre peut en cacher un autre, Margot Cascarre (15/05/14) [ French ], Danse libre sur musique grandiose, Philippe Couture (15/05/14) [ French ]
TAZ, Le collage comme principe chorégraphique - Katrin Bettina Müller (28/03/14) [ French ]
TAGESSPIEGEL, La déchirure dans mon corps - Sandra Luzina (28/03/14) [ French ]

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