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

Meg Stuart crashes illusions in her 2 new performances "It's not funny" and "Blessed".

Ignorance is a blessing, because knowledge implies complexes. And complexes lead to shame.
You would think that the person who can shamelessy display his crushed selfesteem is truly blessed. He is. But not his audience. They get bothered by vicarious shame. That is the uneasy borderline on which Meg Stuart dwells in her 2 new productions for Damaged Goods.


The other production, BLESSED, does strike one dumb. This solo for Francisco Camacho also shows that ignorance is a blessing. It protects against the nightmare, otherwise called "reality". At first nothing is the matter. Camacho strolls as a real Robinson about his island. Everything happens incredibly slowly. Time does not exist in this paradise. Untill it starts to drip. So perhaps take shelter in the cabin and wait. But it only gets worse: dripping turns into pouring. His little cardboard house, the meticulously constructed illusion, starts to collapse under the deluge.

But he does not give up his cocoon that easily. Like a hippy, the kind that hugs trees, he wriggles out of the wreckage. A few things might slip through his fingers, but that is no reason to not continue dreaming with his eyes open. Palmtrees can still be hugged, as long as they are not completely smashed to smithereens.

What makes this solo so oppressive, is the transformation that takes places for your very eyes. From delightful delusion to sheer folly. The valium for the soul has worn off, and with the rain the consciousness seeps in that the bleak surroundings cannot be denied. We see a man who clings to his sunny worldview and refuses to see that he is up to his neck in mushy mud. Obviously it is somebody elses's fault that everything rains into pulp. With paint he sprays his reproaches on the wall, but nobody yells back. He remains hollering alone in his mock paradise. Nevertheless little by little escape routes to cling to his bliss are being suggested. New clothes, new shapes, new glasses alternate quicker and quicker. A lockjaw fixes his smile into a gruesome grimace. All of those are disposable strategies that, just like his house, tree and swan, cannot stand up to the external pressure. Fortunately after rain follows sunshine. In the end he can once again stroll on, gazing at infinity, thinking of nothing. Things don't look that bright for the audience though. It is impossible to return to the time of illusions. Since they have been harshly smashed.

A distressing conclusion of a penetrating performance, that sends one dazed back into the streets.

translation Dominike Van Besien

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