Eternity and mortality between Orient and Occident: Together with Gustav Mahler and vibrating porcelain, two artists from Needcompany draft a new universe for a deliciously fragile choreography.
Talk following the performance on Sun 25/09
When Mahler was diagnosed with a fatal disease, he composed “The Farewell”, one of his saddest and most personal works. In the latest performance by Grace Ellen Barkey and Lot Lemm, this piece from “The Song of the Earth” cycle develops in the midst of a fragile and sensual stage installation. As members of Needcompany, these two artists were part of the highly successful opening of the 2014 steirischer herbst, “All Tomorrow’s Parties”.
In his cycle, Mahler assimilates man’s struggle against his own mortality in contrast to the eternal, ever-renewing nature. He was inspired by ancient Chinese poetry that was extremely popular in Europe towards the end of the 19th century. Precious porcelain was another much collected item at that time. Lemm&Barkey have been experimenting with this precious material for several years, inventing new objects and also using porcelain as a material for costumes. In “The Porcelain Project” they used an oversized soil shaker to make porcelain vibrate, thus creating a very unique, impressive sound.
In their latest production “Forever”, a choreography which will premiere at steirischer herbst, they expand this structure into an entire vibration landscape, exposing it to the frequencies of Mahler’s music like a highly condensed symphonic orchestra ‒ a fragile symbol of transience.
Idea and choreography Grace Ellen Barkey
Music Gustav Mahler, „Der Abschied (Das Lied von der Erde)“
With Mélissa Guérin, Sarah Lutz, Maarten Seghers, Mohamed Toukabri
Musical director Rombout Willems
Costumes Lot Lemm
Dramaturgy Elke Janssens
Light and video-programming Gwen Laroche
Sound Bart Aga
Trainee assistant to the director Camille Doucet
Production Marjolein Demey
Singing coach Lucy Grauman
Photography Phile Deprez
Co-produced by steirischer herbst, Internationales Figurentheater-Festival Erlangen und Nürnberg, PACT Zollverein Essen
With the support of the Flemish Authorities
Project Management Roland Gfrerer
Technical Direction Karl Masten
Technical Direction Kurt Schulz
Lemm&Barkey / Needcompany (BE)
Needcompany, founded in 1986 by director Jan Lauwers and choreographer Grace Ellen Barkey ranks among the most important multidisciplinary theatre companies of their time. The group’s works, one opening the steirischer herbst festival in 2014 (“All Tomorrow’s Parties“), operate between classical theatre, dance and performance, visual art and film. Barkey joined Needcompany member and costume designer Lot Lemm to launch the Lemm&Barkey project in 2004. The multi-faceted collaboration of the two focuses primarily on installations (e.g. “The Porcelain Project“, 2007), but also comprises design, video art and dance, as demonstrated, for example, by their most recent collaboration “Odd? But True“ (2013). “Forever“ is the duo’s latest piece and is set to première at the 2016 steirischer herbst.