Thursday, 24 June 2010

When language fails

I spent a week in Berlin to develop a new project, and on that occasion got the chance to see American choreographer Meg Stuart's Do Animals Cry  at the Volksb├╝hne. The traditional building has recently been refurbished into a more trendy venue and the audience now gets to sit on big floor cushions. What sounds like a nice idea is very unpractical to say the least. Despite sitting uncomfortably for over two hours, Meg Stuart still managed to draw me into her world.
Her piece is about situations that could take place in a dysfunctional family, with her narratives being communicated through the body rather than through verbal language. I became curious about how she works with her performers, who all seem to be developing their own individual stories with a natural presence on stage. Alexander Jenkins was one of my favorite performers. The balance between details and a bigger scene was intriguing and like nothing I have seen before. There was an intimate feeling within a large work, helped by an impressive set created by Doris Dziersk. It includes a tunnel made of small pieces of wood, which made me want to run through a forest.

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