Meg Stuart
Damaged Goods
Jozef Wouters/Decoratelier
PúBLICO, Meg Stuart dances with her ghosts - Gonçalo Frota
MOUVEMENT, UNTIL OUR HEARTS STOP at Tanz im August - Jérôme Provençal (12/09/2016)
MOUVEMENT, UNTIL OUR HEARTS STOP at Tanz im August - Jérôme Provençal (12/09/2016) [ French ]
Jury report 'het TheaterFestival 2016', UNTIL OUR HEARTS STOP (31.05.2016)

Meg Stuart/Damaged Goods & Münchner Kammerspiele’s UNTIL OUR HEARTS STOP started out as an exploration of the effect that being touched has upon us, and by extension, of where our boundaries lie. Meg Stuart began with contact improvisation, but quickly dispensed with its usual taboos – such as violence, or touching in sensitive places. To the looping, sometimes overwhelming jazz strains of Marc Lohr, Stefan Rusconi and Samuel Halscheidt, the six performers paw at, ambush and exploit one another every which way. They squeeze together onto a single sofa in order to pick and pull at one another, like children abandoning themselves to an explosive mix of curiosity, boredom and listlessness. Until they roll over the floor in a tangle of bodies and let rip in a no-holds-barred, stark naked dogfight and a ‘Dolle Mina’-style concert. Finally, they scamper across the stage like young foals that have just been turned out, before ending in an ardent embrace. This looks like absolute freedom. Both mentally and physically, it sweeps embarrassment aside.

Meg Stuart wanted to create a situation that went beyond simply role-playing, and to extend this into the theatre auditorium. So the performers also mix with the audience, where they hand out drinks, sit on someone’s lap or have their make-up applied by a spectator. UNTIL OUR HEARTS STOP not only literally draws very near, but also turns out to be an unpredictable and capricious fantasy; something that is poised between a conjuring act and an esoteric ritual involving a great deal of dressing up. You constantly seem to be witnessing an original world in which everything could go in any direction, and in which the imagination knows no bounds. Only Kristof Van Boven stays above the fray, acting as the standard bearer for an adult audience that no longer wishes to take these kinds of excesses seriously, for fear of the implications.

What purpose is served by the long epilogue, in which Claire Vivianne Sobottke begs for love, attention, money and warmth, or by the collective ballet of incomprehensible signs with which the performance ends? You never quite work out how you are ultimately supposed to interpret this work, but the way in which Stuart takes you with her on a trip through our physical and psychological being, whilst avoiding every cliché, is unparalleled. Her performers dance, sing, curse and flirt as if their final hour has come. Stuart breaks open her linguistic idiom to create lyrical dance theatre that unites performers and spectators in admiration and, yes, love. It makes UNTIL OUR HEARTS STOP the ultimate, whirling expression that a burning world longs for: faith in imagination and in each other.

Weltexpresso, Art wins back the circus - Hanswerner Kruse (04.09.16)
Le Devoir, Nous passons - Catherine Lalonde (14.10.16) [ French ]

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