ORGANISED CHAOS – Alain Platel invites you to a dance on life and death.
Together with the composer Steven Prengels and the visual artist Berlinde De Bruyckere, in his choreography nicht schlafen he explores the human as a social being, as a group and community animal. In the process the dancers’ bodies go through stages of excess, suffering and lust extending to the obscene.
The starting point is the music of Gustav Mahler, which portrays a fragmented world up until shortly before the First World War. Everyday life was dominated by globalisation and terrorism, new technology and accelerated forms of communication. The world rearranged itself and hardly anyone knew how to deal with it.
In line with this period of disorientation, in his symphonies Mahler connects bourgeois art with popular culture, thereby becoming one of the first composers to introduce musical “sampling”. Alain Platel and Steven Prengels understand his music, which testifies to a desire for lost harmony, as an invitation to go on sampling for themselves. In Prengels’ soundscapes Mahler’s music meets polyphonic African singing, the sound of cowbells and the noises of sleeping animals. These ring out in the stage set designed by Berlinde De Bruyckere: a place in which suffering is ritually formulated. The thematic liking for the visceral, the carnal aspects of suffering and death is shared by Platel and Berlinde De Bruyckere, who has for the first time created a set for the Belgian star choreographer. But despite the violence inscribed in it nicht schlafen is permeated by the tentative hope that human beings may not once again fall victim to large-scale annihilation strategies.
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