schrit_tmacher justDANCE!

The conquest of the Useless

Pieregiorgie Milano in Eupen with „White Out“

review by Klaus Dilger

translated by Karoline Strys

“The conquest of the Useless“ is how Piergiorgio Milano, director and choreographer of the company of the same name that is situated somewhere between Nouveau Cirque and Physical Theater, describes his latest production „White Out“ that has now been presented at Alter Schlachthof cultural center in Eupen as part of the schrit_tmacher justDANCE! and Scenario Festival.

„White Out“ refers to a phenomenon that occurs mainly in the polar regions and in the high mountains, when the ground, completely covered with snow, is exposed to a certain light situation that leads to such a reduction in contrast that neither the horizon nor contours or shadows can be made out and thus lead to a complete loss of visual orientation.

Piergorgio Milano WHITE OUT©TANZweb.org_Klaus Dilger

Piergorgio Milano WHITE OUT©TANZweb.org_Klaus Dilger

Such disorientation can result in anxiety, feelings of anguish and partial loss of the sense of balance. In addition, there are possible physical-psychological reactions that may occur especially at high altitudes. In the high mountains such a situation is life-threatening and the climbers are actually left with remaining still in the icy cold for the time being as only option. „In the bivouac watching time slip away…“ a voice from offstage said in this regard.

The audience is catapulted into this fictional situation right at the beginning of the nearly sixty-minute performance. No easy undertaking in a comfortable, warm theater, only a few meters away from the „icy inferno“.

Here the famous magic of the theater is called for which clearly unfolds its effect ever so often this evening yet not always, this too shall not be concealed.

Piergiorgio Milano’s intention with White Out was „…to tell the story of a small community facing an initiatory journey. It (the piece) speaks of human nature, addressing the themes of death, separation, personal ambitions and relationships within a group.

The mountain is a metaphor, the magnifying glass that allows us to look more closely at human nature. Making choices, facing difficulties, relying on others are initial steps in the life of each one of us.“

Piergorgio Milano WHITE OUT©TANZweb.org_Klaus Dilger

Piergorgio Milano WHITE OUT©TANZweb.org_Klaus Dilger

The evening is always effective when the consistently good performers turn their attention to the drama of this mountain expedition, when they use simple means but great body control to overcome gravity by being roped up and yet alone on stage to take up their fight against the relentless nature, held or pulled (back) by invisible forces, – in case of doubt probably those of the invisible rope team. The great light and sound design do the rest. In these moments „White Out“ is able to captivate because it becomes perceptible that everyone has to fight this inner and outer struggle for themselves and with themselves alone, even if there is a community in the background that might perhaps still prevent the worst if necessary. Up and down the mountain in the double sense, ultimately everyone has to achieve it with their own strength.

The intermezzi, mostly with all protagonists together on stage, provide respectable break interludes but they do not seem well enough embedded as a second, fantastic and imaginary level („In the bivouac watching time slip away…“). The audience has to do a lot of bending regarding plenty of things or accept them as they are. And also regarding humor the hit rate is viable, although there were some laughs in the audience.

The visitors of the cultural center Alter Schlachthof Eupen appeared grateful with strong applause.

Piergorgio Milano WHITE OUT©TANZweb.org_Klaus Dilger

Piergorgio Milano WHITE OUT©TANZweb.org_Klaus Dilger