Johannes Wielands reflections on the refugee crises in the dance production YOU WILL BE REMOVED at the Staatstheater Cassel
The stage looks like a cold, nacked location that reminds us of a swimming pool (stage design by Momme Roehrbein) in Johannes Wielands new production “You will be removed.” There even is a spring board. However nobody can swim or dive here anymore to relax. There is no water left in the pool. Maybe nobody wants to swim these days, to make sure not to think about the bodies dying in the Mediterranean Sea every single hour. The bodies of the dancers are sliping down the stairs: sluggish, exhausted or even spit out dead by the sea. The bodies walk back up the stairs. They try again and again to arrive on stage. We can see their pain and we understand, that they are losing their strength and hope. Various other items on stage help us to recall a different setting. There are some chairs and suitcases, plastic sheets, a mattress and a palm tree. White is the dominate color. It might be a reference to an administration office or a refugee camp. However, if one observes the bodies in detail they look pretty and very sexy. The dancers are wearing dresses and pantsuits in very good quality. They dance in high heels or fancy sneakers, not in flip-flops. They are neither dirty nor injured. Obviously Johannes Wieland, as the choreographer of this evening, and his costume designer Stefanie Krimmel like to play with some signs of capitalism, our media perception and the ongoing discussions of whether or not the refugees that are coming to us are wealthy economic refugees (a common argument in Germany right now). The music and the situation changes from scene to scene numerous times. In the best moments of this evening the energy level of the company is incredible high and reminds me of the physical theater tradition of choreographers like Lloyd Newson or Wim Vandekeybus. Wieland even makes a reference to a very famous scene from Vandekeybus piece “What the body does not remember”, but instead of throwing bricks Wielands dancers throw and try to catch every-day items like shoes. Risk taking in dance is an important idea for this producition as it works as a metaphor for the risks that refugees take to come to Europe. Wieland consciously puts his dancers in jeopardy. They respond with daring jumps and they are able to climb high walls. They work their ass off to make us in the audience believe, that it is all so easy and that they truly believe the dream to dance is worse the risk, even if they already understand that it might be not. The allegory brings me back to the humans on the run for whatever reason. Everyone’s head in the audience is full of the pictures about the refugee crises in Europe. The media are flooding our minds in waves like Johannes Wieland is flooding our heads. There is a moment during the show, where the music becomes so loud that I thought the roof of the theater might break down over me due to the bass. An interesting evening, though I felt that some scenes drift into performance and are too long. Unfortunately it is not possible to drain the water out of the “pool” Mediterranean Sea to force all the involved politicians to act responsibly.