Infectious copulating jumble of people as dressage
Sander Hiskemuller - TROUW (23 May 2005)

‘I am a biscuit,’ says the performer Julien Faure, smiling broadly at the audience. ‘You are visiting a garden. You are hungry and you see me: a biscuit!’ Willing to please the audience at any price this mad circus manager lets down his trousers behind one of the many floral panels which turn the set into a colourful mobile labyrinth. The garden the Belgian Needcompany presents on stage in Chunking is clearly inspired by Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights: a garish world of hidden thoughts, bubbling fantasies and smouldering erotic desires. Performer Benoît Gob chants his fantasies in thick French like Charlie Chaplin gone mad. The dancer Tijen Lawton weaves her way nonchalantly through all the madness of this circus, and the sequins glittering on her black revue dress portray the sad face of a woman. Together with Maarten Seghers and Louise Peterhoff this eccentric ensemble moves from one act to the next. A sniffing French bulldog mounts a cat on heat. Fish swim on dry land and dance as they cover their genitals with vases of flowers. They are all bound up in one infectious jumble of copulating people whom the ‘circus manager’ Faure finds almost impossible to disentangle. Chunking is a performance balancing on the cutting edge of dance, art and performance. The way the choreographer Grace Ellen Barkey leads us very organically from a coercive madness to an inescapable sort of gloominess is very well done. Inspired by the concept of ‘chunking’ in psychology - which in practice means constructing ‘fragments’ of memory from the (sub)conscious mind – Barkey gradually deconstructs the cheerful absurdity described above into the darker ‘chunks’ that latently determine our awareness. Following the bizarre cheerfulness that defines the atmosphere in part one, the second part of the performance drags from one black encounter to another between characters whose fury is spent. The dancer Peterhoff is lifted up with her arms and legs stiffly extended, the dancer Seghers moves around aimlessly on hands and feet and is furiously dragged off stage by a fellow performer. Here too there is lovemaking en masse. However, with their abstract copulative movements and the dead look in their eyes, they are barely aware of what they are doing. Barkey’s aim is to show us that the sum of the two parts, which differ so in intensity, ultimately results in an empty vacuum. In the third and last part of Chunking the space that has become vacant is filled in a completely opposite way. To the squeaking, grating sound of the avant-garde post-punk band Sonic Youth, the performers, dressed in crazy Jeff Koons-type animal costumes, literally and figuratively demolish their own surroundings. A gigantic mouse flings the floral panels onto a heap and then claps her hands in delight. A melancholy lop-eared dog watches as a grotesque sheep attempts a sexy dance. And thus a fresh, unruly performance finally ends in an anarchistic punk polonaise with ‘camp’ barbs. Extremely refreshing.

Needcompany
Ensemble weNEEDmoreCOMPANY Invisible Time Contact
 
productions
Jan Lauwers Grace Ellen Barkey Maarten Seghers performing arts visual arts Film
 
tour dates
Full calendar
 
Publications
Books Music Film
 
Newsletter
Subscribe Archive
NEEDCOMPANY  |  info@needcompany.org  |  Privacy  |  Pro area
This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site, you are agreeing to our cookies policy.