Choreography Ed Wubbe
The curtain opens to the rising sounds of J. S. Bach’s St Johns-Passion. Almost the entire stage is covered with a patch of artificial grass which constitutes a sort of competition venue for the piece. A single dancer at first only visible as a silhouette, is crawling, than unfolding to his full height, taking striding steps across the space as if he is searching for something. Soon a second dancer joins him and the two start a nonverbal debate using their movements for an apparent heated discussion. Their bodies are mostly positioned in an angle towards each other and their focuses are mainly directed to the floor, constantly avoiding eye contact. By doing this they establish an uncomfortable atmosphere between them which spreads across the stage and infects the other dancers who join the scenery one after another. With the arrival of each of them, the constellation of the group has to be rearranged, as if they were continuously redefining the current hierarchy. Still the music and their actions suggest that there is an omnipresent might which doesn’t take part in the battle but retains total dominance.
The opening choir of Bach’s St. Johns-Passion is titled: “Betrayal and Capture”. It seems that these words set the keynote establishing the atmosphere of the piece. The men are oscillating between the desire to proof themselves as individuals and to band together in the light of the greater power. This power is not visible but it’s omnipresence can be perceived by the audience through the majestic music and the choreographic language which suggests an indoctrinating opponent located far above the dancers heads.
The piece form Bach fills the room with an atmosphere of glory and devotion whilst the dancing enriches the performance with the flavour of hast and propulsion. Stylistically the powerful dancing of the men is defined by high jumps, audacious slides across the grass and space-consuming movements of arms and legs. Their extreme physical intensity gives them the semblance of invincibility but in spite of that they remain small in contrast to what the music implies. The conflict between the earthly and the heavenly force seems to generate frustration and friction which colours the choreography with tension and dynamic.
The Green has been received by the audience with great enthusiasm for exactly this intensity and virtuosity.
Choreography: Ed Wubbe
Music: Johannes Passion, J.S. Bach ("Herr, unser Herrscher")
Setdesign: Ed Wubbe
Lightdesign: Mark Truebridge
Costumes: Pamela Homoet
Length: 20 min.
Dancers: 7 (male)
World Première: Schouwburg Rotterdam, 2006.
All photographs taken by Hans Gerritsen.