schrit_tmacher justDANCE! in Eupen
In order to be able to fly, we do not need airplanes. First of all we need our imagination. And then maybe a few little tricks. Yesterday, the French Compagnie Barks had a few of these at hand at Eupener Alter Schlachthof. In a cooperation of schrit_tmacher festival with Scenar!o, the festival for theater, dance and circus, they took the audience on an unreal journey. Although in reality only the perception and the thoughts took off.
By Rico Stehfest
translated by Karoline Strys
On a high mountain, meaning a very high one, it is being said that time passes much slower than deep down in the valley. And in space, it is a completely different story. The faster you fly, the more complex. But it does not necessarily have to be fast. On the contrary. The slower, the stranger the effect may be. And the more the perception may shift.
For their performance „Moon“ Compagnie Barks has set up a parcours consisting of five stations, which the audience can visit one after the other. A performer who suspends the laws of gravity right from the start kicks things off in the foyer. How he does it is nothing new: strong magnets under the metal soles of his shoes provide a stance that we do not have normally. In what he is doing, we would have fell over long ago. He does it on a relaxed soundtrack of atmospheric sounds, showing that you can also just sit down. You do not need a chair for that. At least he does not need anything for that.
The second station looks like a hurricane frozen in the moment: a table and two chairs are each in positions that are not even possible according to gravity. A female and a male performer are making us of this crooked starting position in almost childlike exuberance, at times quite contemplatively climbing on, under and around it, sliding, hanging and standing. Wind noises actually allow the association of a mess in a storm. Until the fun picks up speed and both of them are almost competing „over hill and dale“. Somehow a few rules from daily life do not seem to apply here.
Only on the big stage things become absolutely weightless. At first, it is simply one thing: empty. Taking into account the previous stations, the question arises what strange apparatus will be used here. And it turns out to be a small, feather-light paper airplane. Not only can it glide silently and elegantly slowly and far through space. If one of the performers, who happens to be just at the right angle with a small board from below, is manipulating the airflow under the paper plane in such a way that it glides on, without any touch, without moving towards the ground, then very quickly time just seems to stop. The whole thing seems to last less than five minutes, yet could go on endlessly. If time can „fly by“, then it certainly does here.
The fourth station is a sort of seesaw for a single performer. But before it starts to sway, one from the team climbs up the doors of the hall. Well, not just like that. He has these things for this, which „suck“ onto surfaces with loud noises. You can hook a foot into the loops at the end of each one, and off you go on your climb. What is actually not intended to be a toy, becomes here in the literal sense a „light-footedness“ and fun factor.
And the seesaw … Well, how do you describe it if you haven’t seen it? At one end of this steel monster, a performer attaches herself sideways with the hip while sitting in kind of a safety harness. The other end is balanced by heavy weights; the center is resting on the floor, rotating on its own axis. What the performer makes of it is downright dizzying. She turns her body around every possible axis, finds her very own „moonwalk“. She jumps and remains in the air for a moment, upside down or walking on her hands. Gravity is slowed down here, slowed down so that her movements seem completely effortless. It is as if nothing really requires muscle power.
For the last station the audience is in nee of hat and gloves. On the square behind the building there was also a kind of seesaw set up, also rotating around its own center but much larger and designed to be retracted and extended according to the scissors principle. Actually, it would have been enough to see someone on it or on it while this curiosity was turning noiselessly. Centrifuge, celestial bodies, an orbiting that just would not have to find an end.
In order to enjoy this, it needs merely awake senses, no further and complicated considerations. And suddenly one’s own being becomes really weightless, light as a feather. And everything seems possible.