Departures and Arrivals



Of ivory and flesh - statues also suffer
2015/05/24 › 2015/05/25
Utrecht, The Netherlands
Monteiro Freitas, Marlene

Four characters-performers dance their hieratic immobility of statues; figures imprisoned within their own limits. Grotesque and motionless figures in motion, open to the infinite of the imagination, that is to say, open to desire – the core of the project.
Movements, gestures, moods, composed in a particularly precise, detailed, obsessive manner, in tense dialogue with the music, as if, figures taking part of a ball, already very familiar to them, dancing and keeping in pace with every variations of the music, no matter how strange and improbable it may look like.
Balls are possible metaphors for movement, statues for stillness, petrification for the transformation of humans into statues. The latter corresponds to rooting to the place where it occurs, that is to say it is the strangest metamorphosis to movement and the most contradictory idea to a ball.
The entanglement of ideas such as visibility, mobility, animation, resurrection, mechanism, image and its double, icon, desire, incarnation…. shall bring us into the grounds of hybridism.
On stage, three musicians play cymbals. They alternate between a classic or a jazz ensemble, and "mechanical toy soldiers", clock-men, saw-crafts-men, bird-men among other hybrids. They may as well be present as simple geometric figures, as décor. They both are the engine that sets the music, figures in motion and part of the "set up of the show", in this case a live one.
The musical director is the only permanent element of the musical ensemble and, furthermore, he shall alternate between the roles of conductor, player and dancer in the ball; the two musicians will not be permanent elements of the cast but rather musicians, students or amateur musicians willing to join the show on the occasion of each new production.
of ivory and flesh – statues also sufferis in relation with the myth of Pygmalion, about a man who crafted a statuette, through his desire, music and offering to Venus, ends animating it and, finally, falls in love and marries it/her. At last, he would realise that she is not a woman, but a simple statuette. This myth is a transgression, a poetic transformation from bone to flesh, from white to red, from hard to soft, from death to life.
According to Ovid, metamorphosis, the story of Pygmalion, develops within the myth of Orpheus, as a song of hope of resurrection. He sings after loosing Eurydice, who is petrified by the gaze of his husband. It is as a story inside a story. Orpheus, the man who entered Hades, who has been the focus of the Bacchantes, tells us a story of transgression, that defies death and the limits of Earth.
Hybrids are the ones who transgress categories, who conjunct species, who combines life and death, in their nature, as much as statues does.
Stone, wax, wood, metal or any other material, served man to create bodies, figures, mechanisms (puppets)… physically and emotionally crafted, modelled, and ultimately forms of the virtual world, disfigured or embellished, deified or freely fantasised, in order to simulate life and trick death.
The subtitle of this project is also in relation with the title of Alain Resnais and Chris Marker’s Les statues meurent aussi / Statues also die, of 1953, a commission of Présence Africaine, a Parisian magazine.
"Suffer" in French – "souffrir" – means both to suffer (to be in pain) and to wait (it can be said of an unclaimed package at the post office). Within the frame of our project, bodies-statues "suffer from reminiscences", meaning symptomal bodies, that is to say, gestures become reminiscent of invisible, not sequential events and are accompanied by strong emotional intensity.
Our ball is a luminous-obscure place, thought as a receptacle of ghosts and as the plinth of the piece "an ivory statue, delicate but not fragile, that keeps in its nature as much of life and of death".



Choreography: Marlene Monteiro Freitas.
Performance: Marlene Monteiro Freitas, Andreas Merk, Betty Tchomanga, Lander Patrick, Cookie (percursion), Tomás Moital (percursion), Miguel Filipe (percursion).
Light and space: Yannick Fouassier Music | Musique Cookie (percursion), Tiago Cerqueira (edition and sound).
Research: João Francisco Figueira, Marlene Monteiro Freitas.
Production: P.OR.K (Lisbon, PT) Distribution | Key Performance (Stockholm, SE)
Coproduction: O Espaço do Tempo, Montemor-o-Novo (PT), Alkantara Festival, Lisbon (PT), Maria Matos Teatro Municipal, Lisbon (PT), Bomba Suicida, Lisbon (with the support of DGArtes, PT), CCN Rillieux-la-pape, direction Yuval Pick, Rilleux-la-pape (FR), Musée de la danse, Rennes (FR), Centre Pompidou, Paris (FR), Festival Montpellier Danse 2014, Montpellier (FR), ARCADI, Paris (FR), le CDC - centre de développement chorégraphique de Toulouse/Midi-Pyrénées, Toulouse (FR), Théâtre National de Bordeaux en Aquitaine, Bordeaux (FR), Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Bruxelas (BE), WP Zimmer, Antwerp (NL), NXTSTP (with the support of the EU Culture Programme).

With the support of: ACCCA - Companhia Clara Andermatt.
Acknowledgements: Staresgrime (PT)

This project was made possible with support from [DNA] Departures and Arrivals/European commission Culture Program