The name of the rose is danced in Görlitz

gefläshed - Magazin for music and culture
Oliver Hafke Ahmad
The dance theater piece based on motifs from the 1980 novel by Umberto Eco "The Name of the Rose" celebrated its premiere in Görlitz on Pentecost Saturday to much applause. The choreographers Dan Pelleg and Marko E. Weigert let their eleven-member international mixed-sex ensemble in gloomy monk's robes tell the crime story set in the 14th century in a Benedictine monastery about right and wrong faith and about the deadly danger that comes from books, from knowledge and from power unmasking humor.

. Suddenly a heavy rind falls from the stage sky, bangs hard on the stage floor and tears the audience right at the beginning from the meditative monastic mood of the first picture. Is it the Bible? Is it Aristotle's lost part of the "Poetics", which deals with comedy? Or is it knowledge par excellence, which here becomes a fascination and thus a danger? It is a plain black stage (by Britta Bremer), the light comes from the side or from above and reminds of the porticoes of a monastery or the nave of a church surrounded by columns.

. Danger literally blazes flaming from the pages of the book and it is not long before the first monk lies dead on the ground, others who seem to be scrambling for the book will follow. With the dead, the covers also fall, scantily veiled in white underwear, angels appear, or are they the naked souls of the monks? The still living dance around each other in homoerotic passion. Whereby the dance partners are often men and women, but they both represent (male) monks, a feast for those interested in gender issues.

Realized with the means of contemporary dance, with running, climbing, falling, expressive dance, modern dance and ballet figures, "The Name of the Rose" is not a danced retelling of the medieval bestseller by Umberto Eco even if chorales and early music, shawms and drums sound. It is about the images of inquisition, the struggle of the individual with himself and the longing for a secret loved one. Here the inquisitor is tormented by fools, humor fights the bloody bossiness of the mighty.

So it's about compliance with self-imposed and externally imposed rules and the question of conformity or nonconformity in a closed group. So is the rose white and pure like the many good intentions of a pure soul or is it red and soaked in the blood of acted out passions and the struggle for personal and social freedom? The answer comes after about seventy entertaining and expressively danced minutes and enraptured the premiere audience in Görlitz.