quiet and slow and not

Posted: Monday, 17 November 2008 | Posted by k | Labels: , ,

imagine a quiet and slow place. a quiet and slow time. a surrounding of quietness and slowness and all that twice within two days. have i met my personal paradise? or is it rather only the hope of having found it that makes me all romantic and blind for its loud and fast paces that undoubtedly must have been there as well.

well, i went to two performances and liked them.

first was heiner goebbels' i went to the house but did not enter shown during spielzeit europa in haus der berliner festspiele. he directed this scenic concert performance/installation which he also composed the music for. said music was sung by the hilliard ensemble and was brilliant. the sung texts were eliot's love song of j. alfred prufrock, blanchot's madness of the day, kafka's im gebirge and beckett's worstwards ho. the whole performance very much used a filmic setting in a sense of space and maybe depth of perspective. there were always the outsides which the people (the four singers) referred to by example singing out of the window, but those outsides were not really seen. so it sort of felt very hermetic. the texts, too, are maybe not the most open texts themselves. but instead of using this spatial and textual hermetics to sort of 'show'
something to the audience it rather felt as if it was displayed in a panorama of associations that were not forced upon us. the only thing i felt forced by was the head of that woman in front of me who was very eagerly following every tiny action and movement on stage by moving her head and upper body constantly which is a great joy for the person sitting behind in haus der berliner festspiele, i can assure you. the sounds have been amplified incredibly good so that every quietest tone could be heard - the rustling of wrapping paper, the folding of tablecloths, their breathing. it looked sort of flat but was deeply audible.

left sort of satisfied and sad. satisfied because i really enjoyed the brilliant music and performance with its quietness and slowness. sad because the texts seemed to stir something in me and that, i thought, was sad because it was sad texts by 'old men' and on stage were only 'old men' and heiner goebbels may also be an 'old man' ... but then, i learned afterwards that prufrock for instance was written by eliot aged 23. don't know it sort of made me even sadder.

from the love song of j. alfred prufrock by eliot:

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use;
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous -
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old ... I grow old ...

from the madness of the day by maurice blanchot:

I am not learned; I am not ignorant. I have known joys. That is saying too little: I am alive, and this life gives me the greatest pleasure. And what about death? When I die (perhaps any minute now), I will feel immense pleasure. I am not talking about the foretaste of death, which is stale and often disagreeable. Suffering dulls the senses. But this is the remarkable truth, and I am sure of it: I experience boundless pleasure in living, and I will take boundless satisfaction in dying.

I have wandered: I have gone from place to place. I have stayed in one place, lived in a single room. I have been poor, then richer, then poorer than many people. As a child I had great passions, and everything I wanted was given to me. My childhood has disappeared, my youth his behind me. It doesn't matter. I am happy about what has been. I am pleased by what is, and what is to come suits me well enough.

Is my life better than other peoples lives? Perhaps. I have a roof over my head and many do not. I do not have leprosy, I am not blind, I see the world—what extraordinary happiness! I see this day, and outside it there is nothing. Who could take that away from me? And when this day fades, I will fade along with it—a thought, a certainty, that enraptures me.

I have loved people. I have lost them. I went mad when that blow struck me, because it is hell. But there was no witness to my madness, my frenzy was not evident: only my innermost being was mad. Sometimes I became enraged. People would say to me, Why are you so calm? But I was scorched from head to foot; at night I would run through the streets and howl; during the day I would work calmly.

second was maybe forever by meg stuart and philipp gehmacher (who both danced) shown in volksbühne theatre with fantastic music by niko hafkenscheid whose music was sweet and melancholic (sort of reminded me of vincent gallo) and sad and sorrowful but never failed to grab you, and the two dancers, with its progressing ever so slightly promising rhythm (waltzes, mainly). the set design here was also very flat, a half circle marked by dark green curtains which were, towards the end, opened a little. in the center there was a big picture of a dandelion clock, halfway blown away, that was sometimes in a sepia shade, sometimes almost colourful and bright and shiny. the dancers were sort of repetitive in their movements and the music, repetitive, too. but then those subtle changes, a hand here a minor chord there. shifting from something you think you recognize to something that seems very strange to you back to something you feel sure is directly performed for you. the strange thing was, you felt lulled and lured into it and only at points could realize the subtle shifts. then those came as a big surprise. (which now, as i write this reminds me of a thought i had on the sublime and subliminal. etymologically somehow connected, it seems contradictory and paradox to think of the sublime as something you would only be aware of subliminally. but then again, maybe it's those surprises you're facing with incredibility, those that found their way subliminally into your sub_conscience. once you focus (again and maybe consciously), they're there and struck you as incredible, maybe even sublime.)


  1. asoio said...
  2. Thank you for your review. I was there, at the first performance (on 14th November), and I hope I was not that woman disturbing you - but if so, please do forgive me - I came specially from Breslau to see the Hilliards on stage!

  3. Karlotta said...
  4. hi asoio.
    they were great weren't they? the hilliard ensemble? just incredibly beautiful. i hope you enjoyed ... just checked your blog and now especially hope you enjoyed rogers covey-crump.

  5. asoio said...
  6. Hi Karlotta,
    Of course they were great and incredibly beautiful - as they always are! And this time also irresistibly funny :) I enjoyed them very much and I will remember especially 'das herzzerreißende Duett für Tenor und Staubsauger' from the first part and the explosion in Rogers' garage - it is more than obvious that one day this guy will hurry me to my grave ;) Best regards from Poland - Joanna.

  7. Karlotta said...
  8. yay, their understatement definitely had some very grotesque side effects :) hope he won't and you can enjoy more of them ... but you're right, me was all shocked with the sound of that explosion, too.
    cześć do wrocławia :)