SPEECHLESS IN THE FOREIGN
"The Little Mermaid" as a circus dance theater in Görlitz.
With the cheerful life at the bottom of the sea begins a fairy tale,
which in the end is closer to life than one might think at first.
Boris Michael Gruhl
"Cobbler stick to your last", so the saying goes. Modified, with regard to the little mermaid, who longs from the depths of the sea to the surface of the human world, exchanges the fish tail for legs, gives up her voice for it, in order to exist henceforth speechless as a stranger among strangers and breaks down from the loneliness, one would like to say: "Girl stick to your fins". Based on motives of the art fairy tale "The Little Mermaid" by Hans Christian Andersen, from the year 1837, there is now a dance piece by Dan Pelleg and Marko E. Weigert with the Tancompany of the Gerhart-Hauptmann-Theater in Görlitz.
Again and again Pelleg and Weigert try to break through the traditional stage guidelines in dance, especially to let the dimensions of the representation of their ideas, which have been raised from concretion into the aesthetics of the fantastic, become pictorial.
They do not need an aquarium to bring an underwater world onto the stage. With the artist Till Kuhnert they have a partner who puts a stylized coral reef on stage, which is nevertheless equipped with many refinements of fantasy. And not only that, if you turn the moving masses of rock at the bottom of the sea, they give three massive triangles in which exactly those white sails can be hoisted that give propulsion to a mighty frigate until the storm tears it apart, the ship disintegrates, and the sailors who were just dancing so merrily at the bottom of the sea, where the sea creatures live so happily, drown lonely. With the merry life at the bottom of the sea begins a fairy tale, which in the end is closer to life than one might at first believe.
The protagonists in Tanja Liebermann's fantastic costumes move breakneck on the massive reef as if they had to create the most bizarre contortion on a climbing wall. Then again, held on ropes, nimble sea creatures rush through the air, pardon, through the floods, they rise and shoot down, a mighty jellyfish wafts through the underwater world and balloons rise as bubbles from the depths of the orchestra pit included in the picture. The circus-like character of these scenes is present, and when the sea creatures even rush through the dry floods as a group on the ropes, then one can readily think of the enchantment for young and old as known from the Canadian Cirque du Soleil.
Even if these scenes, which after a restrained, cautious beginning, gain in power and presence, are memorable for their pictorial power, it is the intensity of the chamber play in the meeting of the mermaid with her prince and her suffering as a stranger in the human world up to the farewell to death for the sake of the happiness of others, which make this evening once again a special one of dance theater, just in the Görlitz style. First of all there is the curiosity when the dancer Amit Preisman gets into a violent confusion of her feelings at the sight of her fairy tale prince, the powerfully acting Seth Buckley. There is the impressive scene when she rescues the drowning man, both on ropes struggling against the descending force of the ocean depths, and there is her first pain when she has to watch with what ease Nora Hageneier gives herself to dance, which is forever denied her, or if, then only possible under unspeakable pain. Then the fairy tale comes closer to us than we might like, because all too quickly the interest of the human society in that strange being, which lacks language and also the knowledge of announced rituals of pleasure and behavior, is extinguished. It is not far with the welcome culture, which is limited here to the stranger a discarded coat to put on, in order to move then in announced dance defaults like soulless automats.
No happy ending in this fairy tale, the handsome prince lies in the arms of his dancer, he has chosen her, not that mermaid to whom he owes his life, he will never know. Her way out of this misunderstanding, among the soulless, to gain the soul, is death, and not revenge. But a vision? In any case, a fairy-tale evening, in more ways than one, for big and small, and a chance for the big to listen carefully on the way home to what the little ones have seen.