Since Bausch died, her company have been devoted to performing
her works far and wide, and this performance will mark the beginning of a new
partnership with Sadler’s Wells involving their annual appearance in London.
In Como el Musguito, Pina
and her company explored their response to Santiago, Chile, where they were on
tour, as part of their world cities series. It would be the last work Bausch
ever created, her sudden death falling only three weeks after the premiere.
How far the work is tinged by that context is entirely
subjective, but the company is used to bringing their personal experiences to
the stage - Bausch’s Tanztheater style demanded
it. Here her usual montage of disparate scenes splinters into a collection of
solos before reuniting again.
Regular set designer Peter Pabst puts the work on black box
stage with a bright white floor. As the work progresses, a crack appears
through the floor’s centre. The female performers loosen their long hair and
move in floating, jewel bright gowns. A woman flirts with a circle of men,
inflicting little cruelties. And a couple clings together only to be pulled
apart again and again by an invisible force.
Bausch’s images, while often confessionally honest, are as
ever struck through with comedy. One woman applies her makeup, oblivious to the
bucket of water poured over her head and in another scene the company sit in a
long line and play ecstatically with each other’s hair.
While there’s nothing so straightforward as a narrative theme,
Como el Musguito is infused with the
place in which it was made - much of the music is Chilean folksong. The titular
phrase, ‘like moss on a stone,’ comes from the song Volver a los 17 by Violeta Parra. Even the rehearsal space used by the
company while in Santiago was lent them by Joan Jara, widow to the songwriter
and poet Victor Jara who was murdered during the Pinochet coup. Although the work resists any
political interpretation, its themes of loss, fragility and futility inevitably
bring that story to mind.
As critic Sanjoy Roy says, one goes to a Bauschian
performance to experience, not to watch. Extreme, uncomfortable, and comic, it’s
a shake-up for the soul.
Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch
tickets sell fast whatever the show, so be sure to book ahead.
|What||Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Basuch: Como el musguito en la piedra ay si si si|
Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN | MAP
|Nearest tube||Angel (underground)|
11 Feb 16 – 14 Feb 16, 4pm on Sunday 14th Feb
|Website||Click here to book via Sadler's Wells|