Tuesday, 17 April 2018

STEPS dance festival | L-E-V / Sharon Eyal & Gai Behar «Love Chapter 2»

Sharon Eyal & Gai Behar's «Love Chapter 2» danced by L-E-V is an incredibly impressive choreography that shows us the emotional state after a lost and ended love.
The dancers seem to fight against their own bodies, sometimes as a unity and sometimes each of them for themselves. Their movements are sharp, elegant and precise, the dancers are in full control of all of their movements but seem to have lost all control over their emotions.
The dancers are amazing, not only in the way they dance but also with their facial expressions, they manage to completely captivate us in what seems to be a cold and troubled world.
Sharon Eyal is said to have created her own contemporary language in classical dance, and in all her choreographies she works with Gai Behar, an Israeli Techno DJ. In Love Chapter 2 DJ Ori Lichtik produces the music live during the show and the steady and very powerful beats make the whole choreography even more intense and make you feel every beat and every movement of the dancers even stronger.

© picture: André le Corre

Sunday, 15 April 2018

STEPS dance festival | Noetic/Icon by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

The dance festival steps (Migros Kulturproduzent) is the biggest international Biennale for contemporary dance.
The Belgian / Moroccan choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui shows his choreographies Noetic and Icon, both are creations that are about Men in all their facets.
The two pieces are contrasting each other strongly, which at the same time makes them complement each other perfectly to be shown in one evening and represent different sides and facets of society and the people.
While noetic is very introspective, thoughtful and straight, focused mainly on the mind and interaction, Icon focuses on creating and destroying, it is rooted and very down to earth with 3.5t of clay surrounding the dancers and weighing them down.
Both choreographies are in their own way incredibly impressive and touching and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui once again managed to transport us into his own world, where movements, music and precise speeches that are sometimes told by a single person and sometimes by a choir of dancers, tell us a lot, make us feel so much and leave us with many things to think about.
The live music with drummers and singers make the shows even more impressive and created a perfect atmosphere for the two choreographies.

The Göteborgsoperans Danskompani and Cherkaoui's own ensemble Eastman are dancing.

© pictures: Noetic: Bengt Wangselius / Icon: Mats Baecker

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Theater Basel | Tod in Venedig (Death in Venice)

Death in Venice, a play by Richard Wherlock based on the Novel by Thomas Mann, is based on the authors experiences during his family vacations and inspired by the death of the composer Gustav Mahler that is the model for Aschenbach in the story.
The story makes two complete opposites collide, the emotional and free minded world that fascinates the perfectionist Gustav von Aschenbach deeply. It shows us how close life and death, beauty and decay and desire and compulsion are.
The stage design is as simple as it is impressive, there is only one huge wave on stage on which water, the sea, reflections of cities and different underwater scenes until the death are projected during the evening.
Therefore the element water is a constant companion during the whole show.
The photographer Gustav von Aschenbach is bored by his job and during this crisis he travels to Venice to find new inspiration.
There he meets the young Tadzio that not only fascinates him because of his youth but also because of his young and free spirit.
The further away the object of desire strays, the stronger grows the desire of Gustav to be close to him and get his attention.
During the show he loses himself more and more over the desire to be close and united with the young Tadzio who barely notices him.
Always by Gustavs side is the Angel, that accompanies him, lifts him up when he falls, hurls him through the air when he gets lost and tries to keep him from following Tadzio wherever he goes.
When Gustav and the angel dance together they seem to be as one, complementing each other perfectly but at the same time rejecting one another, sometimes letting go but always coming back together until the very end.
Even though the whole ensemble was brilliant and the porters from the hotel and the other guests are very entertaining, is especially these dance parts that touched us very much and made us feel the misfortune and seek of happiness of the protagonist the most.

choreography: Richard Wherlock
musical direction: Thomas Herzog, Georg Köhler
stage: Bruce French
stage and costume: Catherine Voelfray
light: Jordan Tuinman
video: Tabea Rothfuchs
dramatic composition: Armin Kerber, Bettina Fischer

Javier Rodriguez Cobos as GUSTAV VON ASCHENBACH
Frank Fannar Pedersen as THE ANGEL
Anthony Ramiandriosa as TADZIO
Ayako Nakano as TADZIOS MOTHER
Debora Maiques Marin, Dévi-Azélia Selly, Andrea Tortosa Vidal as TADZIOS SISTERS
Diego Benito Gutierrez as TADZIOS FRIEND
Piran Scott as HOTEL MANAGER
Alba Carbonell Castillom Lydia Caruso, Gaia Mentoglio, Armando Braswell, Max Zachrisson as HOTEL STAFF
Marina Sanchez Garrigós, Sergio Bustinduy as ASCHENBACHS PARENTS
Max Ossenberg-Engels as THE YOUNG GUSTAV
Lydia Caruso,  Rubén Bañol Herrera as PHOTO MODELS
Rubén Bañol Herrera, Julian Juarez, Castan Ismael del Valle as THREE BOYS AT THE LIDO
Sergio Bustinduy as STYLIST
Lisa Horten-Skilbrei, Marina Sanchez Garrigós, Sidney Elizabeth Turtschi as THE STYLISTS ASSISTANTS
Mirko Campigotto as THE STRANGE MAN
Camille Aublé, Alba Carbonell Castillo, Lydia Caruso, Lisa Horten-Skilbrei, Debora Maiques Marin, Gaia Mentoglio, Annabelle Peintre, Raquel Rey Ramos, Marina Sanchez Garrigós, Dévi-Azélia Selly, Andrea Tortosa Vidal, Sidney Elizabeth Turtschi, Rubén Bañol Herrera, Diego Benito Gutierrez, Armando Braswell, Sergio Bustinduy, Mirko Campigotto, Julian Juarez Castan, Max Ossenberg-Engels, Frank Fannar Pedersen, Piran Scott, Ismael del Valle, Max Zachrisson as HOTEL GUESTS / PEDESTRIANS / PEOPLE AT THE LIDO / THE OLD PEOPLE

@ picture: Werner Tschan

Friday, 13 April 2018

Theater Basel | Kaspar Hauser und Söhne (Kaspar Hauser and Sons)

Kaspar Hauser and Sons, a play by Olga Bach produced by Ersan Mondtag picks up the story of the famous and mysterious foundling Kaspar Hauser, who showed up one day in Nuremburg with barely any linguistic skills and announced that he had been kept in the dark for years with only water to drink and bread to eat. In Ersan Mondtags version there is not only one Kaspar Hauser but a lot of them, the grandfather, the father, the son and the story goes on with his son and so on that are all called Kaspar Hauser with the appropriate number.
Performing in grey / black and white fatsuits that Ersan Mondtag has already used in previous productions, the characters live in a very colourful house with low ceilings where they live and follow their daily routines in the families business that produces picture frames.
Previous to every act there is a short film sequence that tells us the story of the Kaspar Hauser foundling but in the play the story line is completely different.
Kaspar Hauser 2 gets admitted to a mental hospital by his son during the Nazi period which is a blot in the family history under which especially the grandson (Kaspar Hauser 4) suffers a lot. During the four generations 1940, 1960, 1990, 2018 we can watch all the Kaspar's suffer from the pressure and problems of their own era and how it affects them in their role in the family.
We found the play very impressive, we liked the strong contrasts that were used not only in the stage design but also in the way the different characters where talking to each other and the strong emotions we were confronted with during the play.
It felt like watching a family drama through the times but only within barely four hours, which connected us a lot to the different characters.
It was not only a thought provoking but also a very entertaining play with brilliant actors and an amazing production.

production and stage: Ersan Mondtag
sound and composition: Max Andrzejewski
costume: Ersan Mondtag, Annika Lu Hermann
video: Florian Seufert
light: Roland Edrich
dramatic composition: Constanze Kargl
co-worker stage: Anton von Bredow

Michael Gempart, Vincent Glander, Thiemo Strutzenberger, Urs Peter Halter, Cathrin Störmer, Elias Eilinghoff, Benny Claessens, Carina Braunschmidt

© picture: Birgit Hupfeld