Five stars for this from most reviewers? Five stars for Guillem I could understand, but only if people are five starring her entire career (which they are). I’d have given it maybe two stars, or on TheOperatunist’s trademark well harsh ratings, about 5/10 at the most.
What a disappointment. Especially after last week’s memorable and thought-provoking “Gebirge”. Where that piece was bleak, moving, involving, a howl of human emptiness, Ahnen was nothing compelling and nothing powerful. Ill-knit and aimless, it was perhaps the biggest waste of three hours I have ever spent watching anything. Halfway through act II I could barely bring myself to take any more notes, and at the end, to collate them.)
Indulge me (as Tanztheater Wuppertal asked for last night) as I compile A List of Things That Happen in Ahnen:
Things That Happen in Bausch’s “Auf dem Gebirge hat man ein Geschrei gehört”
- A woman buries a chair in soil
- A man dressed as a lifeguard blows up multiple balloons until they burst. He later makes a sandwich out of his own arm complete with garnish.
- A woman polishes shoes as a crowd race around her
- A seated woman screams for about two minutes, as a man runs and leaps over her a lot
- Twenty-four fir trees are hauled onstage, then off again
- A live brass band plays an early 20th Century German tune whilst a woman slaps and hits herself forcefully.
- A man plays “Cry Me a River” for a few bars, then stops, each time removing an article of clothing.
- A woman is swathed in bandages until she can only waddle, like a mummy, then chases people.
- A man stalks the stage with a rubber band around his nose.
- A guy plays percussion on the buttocks of his fellow cast-members.
Swan Lake, this ain’t.