Saturday, July 18, 2015

Diary of a festival in Avignon (8) – Marianne

The dancer Angelin Prejlocaj likes to talk with the writer Laurent Mauvignier, artistically speaking. In 2012, the first gesture had put “What I call forgotten,” the second book. When Olivier Py offered her Court of Honor for his return to the festival, where he had more product for 14 years, Prejlocaj, now aged 58, has therefore turned to him to spend Mauvignier control of a contemporary tragedy.

The work is called “Back to Berratham”. The scenography, signed Adel Abdessemed, evokes a no man’s land dismal. The back wall of the Papal Palace is decorated with a large neon star. On stage are set high gates before which we distinguish the carcasses of burned cars and plastic bags. The atmosphere holds the armed conflict and the ghetto.

A young man returns to the village whose name recalls the Albanian origin of Prejolcaj. He had left just before a war ubiquitous throughout the show by giving, by force of circumstance, a young woman he was in love, named Katja, and to whom he had promised to return.

So the return of the prodigal lovers. But the places he discovers have nothing to do with those of yesteryear. The scars of war are present. Everything was devastated, beginning with the soul of the people contaminated by the spirit of a violence reminiscent of the conflict that followed the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. The atmosphere good-experienced by the young man gave way to the reign bands and petty criminals who share the territory. While the mother Katja Mauvinier carries the text, the dancers perform a choreographic tragedy illustrating the upheaval of consciences which tell the narrator, in a serious tone: “War has changed the order of things.”

For this kind of experience for two voices (speech and body) requires a total symbiosis between the two forms of expression – a prerequisite for the show walking on two legs and avoids limping. This is the Achilles heel of “Back to Berratham”. Except in rare moments, text and dance never really merge

The words of Laurent Mauvignier, who art yet to take his reader like a torrent carries stones, seem not to have taking on dance. So, the text lacks rhythm and breath. Conversely, the choreography is majestic, flexible, removed, magical, both in its fast times in periods of idling.

The show definitely suffers from this duality, even if it remains a real plastic beauty. Times trembles with emotion the stone walls as the grace of the dancers borders on the sublime. Forced marriage Katja, ballet female bodies traumatized by violence and waving on stage as swifts flying in the night of Provence, or hugging the young lovers on the roof of a calcined jalopy take magic and remain engraved in the memories.

* «Back to Berratham” Laurent Mauvignier. Ballet Angelin Prejlocaj. Courtyard of the Palais des Papes. In Festival. On tour in September.


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