Alain Platel, eminent Flemish choreographer, will be the guest artist at the 9th edition of the Dialog ? Wrocław International Theatre Festival. The artist will present two pieces, En avant, marche! (14-15 October 2017) and nicht schlafen (17-18 October 2017).
En avant, marche!
En avant, marche! is the result of a collaboration of directors Alain Platel and Frank Van Laecke with musician Steven Prengels. The artists drew from the traditions of musical groups which for decades had constituted a vital part of local social and cultural life. Music bands, music clubs, and brass bands become symbols of community, and vehicles for universal narratives on human life. In En avant, marche! the audience is able to see how members of micro-communities?despite their conflicts, personal ambitions, love affairs, generational differences and divergent outlooks?strive to be together and move forward as a whole. Being together is the imperative value and a great source of inspiration for our increasingly divided community. Actors, dancers, musicians, and local artists (music is performed live, featuring local music bands) comprise one company, a community using the human body as a music instrument and a language of communication. The central figure in the piece is the dying trumpeter, inspired by the protagonist of Luigi Pirandello?s The Man with a Flower in His Mouth, who must bid farewell to his band and his instrument. Is he still a member of the community?
nicht schalfen is an apocalyptic vision of the present, a ceaseless struggle for living space and one?s own place in the new, budding hierarchy. The starting point for Alain Platel?s piece was the music of the Austrian composer Gustav Mahler. It was through its aggressiveness and nervousness, passion and yearning for the lost harmony that Platel found inspiration for the performance intended as a dark tale about our times. A radically beautiful story of suffering and death, downfall of civilization and attempts to rebuild human relations amidst the debris of the old world. A group of men gathers around a wooden altar, on which three dead horses were placed to perform a rite. Who are they? What post-apocalyptic world do their represent? Who is the woman among them? Will she be sacrificed on the altar of their declining manhood? These are just some of the questions that arise as one watches Alain Platel?s latest piece. And though we are merely spectators in a bizarre ritual of some primitive tribe, it is difficult to escape the impression that it represents a world eerily close to us. Looking at the dancers who literally rip their clothes apart, one is tempted to see them as representative of all those residents of global peripheries, who have already experienced the catastrophe, and who no longer look out for war, because it has become their lived experience.
Alain Platel?s debut at the Dialog Festival came in 2011 with the presentation of his queer piece Gardenia, developed in collaboration with Frank Van Laecke, with whom Plate also collaborated in En avant, marche!. Polish audiences may still remember Platel?s piercing and philosophical dance piece VSPRS, which won the 1st prize at the International Festival ?Kontakt?, and to this day counts among the foremost dance pieces to be presented in Poland. Platel?s company, les ballets C de la B, returned to Poland in 2010 for the first edition of Malta Festival Poznań following the alteration of the event?s formula. As part of the festival lead idiom, ?Flemish Theatre?, Platel presented his Out of Context. For Pina, a painful, considerate, and empathetic, the piece combined the aesthetics of the Flemish wave with German dance theatre, while paying tribute to Pina Bausch and her understanding of interpersonal relations.