©Anja Beutler

4: STILL LIFE - Nicole Beutler Projects & Theater Malpertuis

Vitoria Writes



I was excited as always to have the chance to watch a new piece for the Vitoria Visits project and to meet with choreographers and theatre makers. I had the honor to have a short talk with Nicole Beutler before the new try-out of 4: Still Life, a dance duet from 2013 at the Frascati Theater in Amsterdam.

Never seen before
The performance turned out to be something I had never seen before, an amazing experience through a simple, almost minimalistic and still amazing way of making theatre. 

10 year anniversary
Nicole Beutler is a German artist based in The Netherlands for the last 20 years under the name Nicole Beutler Projects. This year they are celebrating their 10-year anniversary. With a background in fine arts and later on dance and choreography, she is a theatre maker, choreographer and curator, therefore interdisciplinary ways of working come naturally to her. 

Gesamtkunstwerk
Beutler likes to follow her own idea of “Gesamtkunstwerk” inspired by Wagner, in which light, music, movement, text and audience have equal importance in the piece. According to her, the audience has a really important role because they are the ones who create the story. “What I love about the theater is the concentration and the fact that we are sort of prisoners locked in, and as a public we have to surrender to what we see, and we become co-players in what is being done.”

After three pieces with a more political presence, she decided to start from scratch. The principles of Bauhaus, the visual art movement from the beginning of the 20th century, were a big influence and inspiration to figure out how composition can tell a story and how the theatrical elements could have a potential narrative for this piece.

Creative process
Thus, the creative process of 4: Still Life started with a blank page and the geometric shapes: circle, triangle and square. Beutler zoomed into the history of dance to find out which styles are more circled, triangular and squared. On stage the dancers explore all the possibilities attached to the form and to the relation between them, allowing a non-verbal narrative to rise from it. “What we see on stage starts literally as a blank page of white paper where soon the walls start to dance, and from there on we are carried through the relation between man and woman, what is the most basic dance they can do as partners.”

Hypnotized
4: Still Life is the fourth performance of a series of eight and it was inspiration for another three other pieces, and it was even adapted to a performance in public space. It might sound abstract to talk about dance and geometric forms or you might even think about it as a literal reproduction of movements and shapes, but I can assure you will be hypnotized by it. You can imagine what it could be, but you will never know what it is until you see it.

Allow yourself to surrender to this theatrical experience.
I will see you April 24th at Parktheater for 4: Still Life - Nicole Beutler Projects.

4: STILL LIFE - Nicole Beutler Projects & Theater Malpertuis
Parktheater Eindhoven
April, Wednesday 24, 2019

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