After All Springville

After All Springville

On the stage stands a house. It emits colourful wisps of smoke and shortly afterwards a man in green appears with a rubbish bag in his hand, ready to put it outside. The house is a springboard, a trampoline for the imagination. Are we ready for the leap into the unknown? Are we to witness a surrealistic spectacle or will we (finally!) get to see the underlying reality as it really is, in full view, fragile and blindly hurtful? The house is like a body. It swallows up the visitors through its openings and spits them out again. Strange creatures, half human, half thing, circle around the house. From a human point of view they are not fully developed. Some have arms missing. They can hardly see anything. In their clumsiness they give themselves to the full. Here and now. They sniff around, entice, scream for affection. These characters can be only who or what they are. There’s nothing the table would like better than to be so attractive as to be lavishly laid. The fuse box is about to explode. A group forms briefly before the eye of a camera on wheels. Smile! The audience are the only ones to retain an overview. They watch as one individual drama after another unfolds, as inevitably as the banging of fireworks or a shoot-out. Until the house and the landscape take over the stage again. Everything just carries on.

In Miet Warlop’s studio and imaginary world, everything is in constant motion. Components fuse together into one great swirling transformation. Characters and images from one production turn up in another. Sometimes they start to lead a life of their own. For instance, the elegant table from Springville – starched white tablecloth, elegant female legs in black tights and pumps – walked into a gallery and turned into an installation that functioned in its own right. Twelve years after the premiere, Warlop has taken the production up again as a memory that has to be relived or a song of her own that she wants to cover with a new group. She’s ready for it. The time is right. Some questions remain. How much space do you occupy, physically and mentally? What effect do your gestures have? How do we relate to each other? How can we endure each other in a restricted space? How can we form a community when we don’t see each other, or hardly ever? Something always eludes us. If it were not so funny it would be tragic. Miet Warlop combines the total upheaval of a natural disaster with the relief of a cartoon film or slapstick.

Sometimes you want to say something again, years later. Because the issues have not been resolved. Because in the meantime you have grown older and have made and experienced other things. Because it can be done better and more precisely, with more breathing space and less waste. Because it’s worth seeing once again. Or just for the renewed pleasure of performing it.

Producers creation 2009: CAMPO en Kunstencentrum BUDA.

Coproduction creation 2021: HAU Hebbel am Ufer – Berlin (DE), Kunstencentrum BUDA (BE), Arts Centre Vooruit Gent (BE) and others tbc.

Miet Warlop

  • Genre: Performance
  • World premiere: 4 September 2021

Best Production 2010

Theaterfestival (BE/NL)

"Springville is a colourful mix of lively scenes that are at once aesthetic, funny and moving. Each scene springs up apparently at random out of the one before. In the final analysis, all the images seem – as quietly as can be – to tell an explosive tale about a reality that is constantly growing and falling back again. In Springville, Warlop sets an inventive course through moving tableaux vivants – which characterise her language – combined with Keatonesque slapstick. It delivers subtle theatre that holds up a penetrating and playful magnifying mirror to the world."

Knack (2009)

"In Springville, Warlop exposes her objects/actors to disasters great and small. From the toppling of a cardboard box to a tidal wave. She shows on stage what a hurricane does in a natural setting: with destruction you breathe new life into and give a new logic to your environment."

De Morgen (2009)

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