Bausch’s final piece (loosely translated as “Like moss on a stone, ah yes yes yes”) celebrates her dancers’ capabilities in extended solos, but fails to knit together into a satisfying whole.
Bauschean elements permeate the show, with a few video effects which are well used. The stage (Peter Pabst) moves apart and together in fractured pieces, like a jigsaw which (unlike the show itself) knits together seamlessly, and then pulls apart. One can fruitfully read ideas of dislocation, physical separation and divorce into it, these tectonic monoliths as shorthand for selves which never can know another, except to abut their neighbour – but mainly the set was just merely interesting, and the dancing rather the same.
A list of things that happen in “como el…”
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.