Journal

Constanza Macras: Memory is fragile, garbage lasts forever<font size=2> by Kamla Hurst</font> Oct 7, 2006

by Kamla Hurst

Two immediate thoughts come to mind when I heard that the trash queen of Berlin was coming: Felix Ruckert and Munich. Berlin-based choreographer Ruckert was at On the Boards a few years ago, bringing a sexy, cool club experience that truly engaged audience members -- a friend of mine recently recalled being repeatedly bounced on by a dancer named Jose at an evening performance. This is a fond memory. And I think of Munich whenever I hear Berlin b/c not long ago my mother worked for an airline, which meant I could travel to places like Germany for pennies. My friend and I settled on a stay in Munich, and even years later, I wonder how could we have not bought tickets to Berlin?! Thus, a cultural export from Berlin re-invigorates a hope to travel and explore ”¦

*Back to the Present* features a multinational ensemble of dorks on display -- performers dance, interview each other, play flute, fetishize stuffed animals, experience heartbreak on video, run around in pale bikinis, speak french, explain how beautiful they are, and sing to you. Featuring a catchy soundtrack— Kate Bush, Vivaldi, Yma Sumac, Bon Jovi and the Knight Rider theme, etc. — the audience watches with rapture as 12+ performers progress from childlike hi-jinks to ecstatic nudity.

We gather that the performance is a response to a break up – and we are inundated with text, videos and creative situations that suggest how the afterlife of a relationship might change a person. How a break-up might make a person self-absorbed, violent, socially awkward, or the stuff of rock stars. My seat mates noted the isolation at work – that though there are so many performers, and theatrical pyrotechnics on display, the dancers do not interact meaningfully. The only love story is the one remembered and longed for.
I’m trying to figure out how the copious program notes informed the work – there’s a quote that may offer a clue:  “Memory is fragile, garbage lasts forever ” (Kevin Slavin). The notes concern themselves with, among other subjects, how garbage, the accumulated remainder of human endeavor, increasingly encircles our lives – becoming the only touchstones of a life lived with intentions to discover and create ”¦
To conclude this random assemblage of thoughts, I had one disappointment: the dancing is not memorable. I feel conflicted between wanting a more vigorous and visceral dance experience and being swept away by a joyful performance that leaves us in an orgiastic reverie of the bohemian life.

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