On the stage stands a house. It emits colourful wisps of smoke and shortly afterwards a man in green appears with a rubbish bag in his hand, ready to put it outside. The house is a springboard, a trampoline for the imagination. Are we ready for the leap into the unknown? Are we to witness a surrealistic spectacle or will we (finally!) get to see the underlying reality as it really is, in full view, fragile and blindly hurtful? The house is like a body. It swallows up the visitors through its openings and spits them out again. Strange creatures, half human, half thing, circle around the house. From a human point of view they are not fully developed. Some have arms missing. They can hardly see anything. In their clumsiness they give themselves to the full. Here and now. They sniff around, entice, scream for affection. These characters can be only who or what they are. There’s nothing the table would like better than to be so attractive as to be lavishly laid. The fuse box is about to explode. A group forms briefly before the eye of a camera on wheels. Smile! The audience are the only ones to retain an overview. They watch as one individual drama after another unfolds, as inevitably as the banging of fireworks or a shoot-out. Until the house and the landscape take over the stage again. Everything just carries on.
In Miet Warlop’s studio and imaginary world, everything is in constant motion. Components fuse together into one great swirling transformation. Characters and images from one production turn up in another. Sometimes they start to lead a life of their own. For instance, the elegant table from Springville – starched white tablecloth, elegant female legs in black tights and pumps – walked into a gallery and turned into an installation that functioned in its own right. Twelve years after the premiere, Warlop has taken the production up again as a memory that has to be relived or a song of her own that she wants to cover with a new group. She’s ready for it. The time is right. Some questions remain. How much space do you occupy, physically and mentally? What effect do your gestures have? How do we relate to each other? How can we endure each other in a restricted space? How can we form a community when we don’t see each other, or hardly ever? Something always eludes us. If it were not so funny it would be tragic. Miet Warlop combines the total upheaval of a natural disaster with the relief of a cartoon film or slapstick.
Sometimes you want to say something again, years later. Because the issues have not been resolved. Because in the meantime you have grown older and have made and experienced other things. Because it can be done better and more precisely, with more breathing space and less waste. Because it’s worth seeing once again. Or just for the renewed pleasure of performing it.
“In Springville, Warlop sets an inventive course through moving tableaux vivants – which characterise her language – combined with Keatonesque slapstick. It delivers subtle theatre that holds up a penetrating and playful magnifying mirror to the world.”
Els Van Steenberghe – Knack – May 2009
Concept and direction: Miet Warlop
Performance: Wietse Tanghe + performers tba
Technical coordination: Bennert Vancottem
Production: Miet Warlop/Irene Wool vzw
Coproduction: HAU Hebbel am Ufer – Berlin (DE), Kunstencentrum BUDA (BE), Arts Centre Vooruit Gent (BE), Perpodium (BE)
Created by: Kunstencentrum BUDA (BE), Kunstencentrum CAMPO (BE)
With the support of The Belgian Tax Shelter