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One Too Many

Nóra Bükki Gálla

Being a tourist you are pampered and challenged at the same time: people don’t expect you to keep the rules but on the other hand (since they don’t know your ‘world’, your context) they reflect an image that you might prefer not to see of yourself – and wouldn’t have to anyway, were it not for the simple fact that you are a tourist.

Gabriele Reuter takes that idea: the figure of a foreigner we cannot really identify with, still accept and even grow to love in a way, multiplies it by four and (unfortunately enough for both audience and choreographer) thinks this is enough to make a statement of art. No wonder it isn’t. She tries hard though, dresses her performers in parachutes, jungle costumes and Eskimo wear, adds some truly interesting movement material, and her performers are gregariously confident… Still. Or should we say, all the more…?

Reuter starts with three female figures entwining in a trio of sharp poses and quick transitions performed to the rhythmic clicking and hissing noises (wind is a connective element within the movement sequences and the scenes; the piece actually begins by one of the characters being literally blown onto the stage). The three of them make an interesting soundtrack as they take turns adding sound to the movement – hysteric giggling, shouting, moaning. The sounds become a strange imitation of languages as the figures put on their costumes. Dance is interpreted as the excessive body language of strangers and this is where the piece becomes so very didactic that it actually feels like torture to sit through the remaining twenty minutes. The figures wobble, gesticulate, converse with echoes and even describe the road to a house with no walls in English – and of course from time to time are blown out by the wind to stumble back again, like in a nightmare when you just can’t wake up. At the end all you do is beg for mercy.

But then it’ over and you keep thinking – well, first you think, what did I do to deserve such punishment, but actually then one wonders about the fourth performer (always a local one, as we are informed from the program, this time a convincing graduate from the local Modern Dance Department). Is he signifying another layer of strangeness? Why is he needed at all? Come to think about it, I don’t care. I should get my money back.

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