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In fact, it was very bad. I might have had to follow my impulse to escape, but I stayed with Ken Licht. This piece, written by Elfriede Jelinek, composed by Philippe Manoury and directed by Nicholas Stemann, was technically good. Only this dog, I didn’t draw that.
Placing animals and children on stage is generally seen as a sign of artistic weakness. After all, their innocence is not fake, but real, and real always attracts more attention than fakes. And the animal or the child on the stage turns everything you place around it as a shroud into a bad imitation.
The dog in the Kein Licht is a gentle French terrier, the Bobby type of Tintin, who can sing impressively. I have a one year old puppy, named Fonzie, who can do that too. A good singing dog knows how to pass through marrow and bone, and through marrow and bone to pass, if he wants to go out, eat, or go to the female quarter in heat, or just the Wiltshires. Bobby in Kein Licht can do it on demand, he really loves it, because there’s always a sweetie after one of his songs.
So far sweet and heart-warming. Philippe Manori, the famous French composer who played Jelinek’s unflattering piece about our deadly energy addiction, has nefarious plans for Bobby. Because after the electronics doubled down on the dog, the orchestra and chorus added some dramatic power, suddenly that picture of Fukushima popped up. She remembers the nuclear power plant that exploded after the tsunami after the 2011 earthquake. 170,000 people were forced to leave their homes in a hurry. She left behind many pets. Crying, lonely, hungry.
Three years ago, forever
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Call me a coward, but I can’t stand it. Then I want to leave the room in pain, because this really hurts and this pain calms me down for what’s going to happen next. Then I want to go home and pet Fonzie until he gets tired (rarely).
Is there anything left? We can now also add the “current” that is forbidden to artists, as well as animals and children. Because as an artist you don’t profit from current events whether they are too close.
There are three dates in the official title: 2011, 2012 and 2017. Jeline wrote the first two dates in response to the Fukushima disaster (within and a year later, with those poor dogs). The third part is a response to Trump’s election in 2016. Steemann said before the show that the revival of this Holland festival, in 2022, after five years of no play, is irreplaceable in 2022. After all, it’s a crisis, a pandemic, and a war. A lot has happened since 2017.
Current affairs are always faster
This update actually made the entire show more dated than it already was. After all, you can never grab current affairs, because they are always faster and closer than you can write. Basins of water (initially representing the 300 tons of radioactive water flowing from the Fukushima plant every day) have switched to two colors in Ukraine, and the Trump-related text turns out to be an outdated notion (“He doesn’t feel like it anymore”) and that we’re all Got stuck, no need to hammer again.
The Ukrainian soloist, who was allowed to plead for continued attention after the last round of applause for the ongoing war in her homeland, fell on deaf ears. However, a piece like Kein Licht, where every note and every letter is impregnated with the inevitable demise of us all, eventually engulfs itself, precisely because the torment described is now descending upon us.
Once back home, Fonzie got an extra delicious dessert. Also for Ukraine.
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