Gala Moody and Michael Carter succeed with „THE VASE“ in Krefeld

nightreview by Nicole Strecker

translated by Veronica Posth


The woman is not to be hold, not to be saved. Medea, the most brutal, most invincible heroine of the Greek myth world, mother and monster, lamentable victim and incomprehensibly vindictive perpetrator. In 2014 the dancer Gala Moody embodied the Medea in Wim Vandekeybus‘ production „Booty Looting“, and it’s clear to understand that this woman, elemental force of the present-day and radical ‚border-breaker‘ of the love-idea, doesn’t let go.

A year later, Moody and her partner Michael Carter, developed „The Vase“ which is a piece about a couple in permanent mode of eternal power-struggle, like Medea and her husband Jason. Who manipulates whom? Moody and Carter succeeded in making great the emotional power of man and woman cliché-free, due to the hot-cold ménage to stage. It is a game – and yet it is painful harassment.

The performer Gala Moody – already the name is a promise! – appears in the long beige dress as a pale heroine. The fair-haired blond hair uncombed and her arms, legs, even the fingers, feet and all her limbs are fairy long and thin. She seems to come from another time, but then she goes completely earthly to a mixing console, which stands in the middle of the stage; she insulates the light and tips a sound file on the computer. Preparations for her scene, a self-made setting and a statement: – what is happening here is just a theatre illusion, an experimental arrangement to understand the nightmare „love“ – Here, Euripides‘ Medea tragedy is quoted and its adaptation by the most unknown Chilean author, Ariel Dorfman who, in his biography written in Chile during the the dictatorship by Augusto Pinochets, was clearly possessed and obsessed by the themes of revenge and forgiveness. One is in Sartre’s hell, the others are for us. And one is in Heiner Müller’s famous piece about the struggle in love „Die Quartet“, in which the man and the woman are mauling themselves for the sake of the game, changing the gender roles. This is now happening with Gala Moody and Michael Carter.

After Moody has first and again recited the first words of the Euripides drama, Carter appears. Both are measuring each other. The bodies are tense as if they caught a painful spasm at the mere sight of the other, as if Jason had already betrayed Medea for another, or as though she had already murdered the children. But then Moody suddenly jumps back with a laugh to a much earlier point of her relationship.

Carter says: „I am her”. He is Medea, the stranger, the strong. And while he babbles to his beloved one, she jumps and grabs on him, keep his mouth closed, jostles him, bounces on one leg as he accidentally steps on her foot. A rough tenderness, two bodies without suspicion nor shame. But is not the thrust now a bit crude and the arms around the neck a bit too tight? There are not exactly kisses, that Penthesilea-like become deadly bites, but the interaction between Moody and Carter becomes imperceptibly harder stroking and clawing, turning from gentle tangle of the hands into forceful compressions.
This evening the two have worked sensationally on the ambivalence of each gesture. Two star dancers. She worked with the wild fellows of the dance scene: Romeo Castellucci, Ivo Dimchev and Wim Vandekeybus. He has been with the Tanztheater Wuppertal since the 2014 and rather provided with charisma and sensitive melancholy. Intrinsically a wonderful counterpart to the rigorous woman of deed Moody, that makes their still young formation „Cie. Ofen“ absolutely attractive.

This time, however, Medea-Moody removes her gentle Jason into the corner, and if his sarcastic, cruel infringements are more like cautious attempts to subdue, the ’suspension of hostility‘ in the erotic power-struggle is quite unbelievable.
Nevertheless, captivating how the two had so enchantingly and intensively rummaged into the physical sensibilities of their characters and how cleverly they reflected on the stereotypes of the subjects doing it without any chintzy effect. Love as a war in which there can be no winner. Gala Moody and Michael Carter tell of this age-old disillusionment of all romantics with the passionate resignation of two psychologists, who can not protect from the pull of emotions, even with the most sensitive analysis.