Oscar van den Bogaard’s writing is non-linear, a collage of small episodes and thoughts that makes sense on a deeper level. Like our brain no doubt, the main routes of his texts intersect secondary paths or take unexpected short-cuts to result in an entirely personal cohesion. The author provided a collection of short passages that form a quasi-impressionistic (self-) portrait.
Thomas Hauert and the dancers from ZOO have undertaken to put these fragments into order, into perspective(s) and in relation to each other to create a new constellation from the associations they create within the group. Read by the Scottish actor Stuart McQuarrie, the (re)structured text run through the show in the form of a sound-track. The movements that are added to the words, as well as the songs which intersect them – written by the dancers themselves in collaboration with Alejandro Petrasso and Bart Aga – always answer them in one way or another. Sometimes they interpret or illustrate them, sometimes they question or inflect them and sometimes they just use their rhythm.
Walking Oscar starts the game of mental associations on stage, inviting the audience to continue it in the theatre. A montage of episodes emerging out of the darkness of the set like as many points of view on innocence and responsibility, identity and adaptation, will and manipulation, the real and the imaginary. A montage where it is a question too of the sense of frustration linked to the experience we are all having with our own limits, our “inadequacies”: a reality that you cannot look directly at for too long without being blinded by it.
Listening to a voice speaking words and understanding the voice or not (or listening to music, a song, or watching people perform etc.) is one part of the experience, then there’s a mental side to it: everything the experience makes you think of. If you have two or more experiences simultaneously the associations get mixed up and that’s understanding too.
The observation of this phenomenon and letting yourself go along with it gives you many insights and can be very exciting. You’re not simply taking in what’s happening but memories are popping up in your consciousness and get combined with new thoughts, constantly changing your angle towards what you experience (now there’s movement in your mind and all improvised). Your thoughts will influence how you will perceive and interpret the next few words, images, sounds and the associations you will make by means of them. Who said watching is interpreting? Don’t ask how you are able to do all at once.
All experiences can ring bells in our memory, I guess that’s what makes them what they are. We’re having a lot of them all the time and the bells certainly don’t only sound like language. Mixing up associations must make a hell of a noise.
I don’t think Oscar’s texts need any mixing up (although juggling with them is fascinating). I had the privilege to discover them without even a voice giving clues to whom this biography belongs (well the radio might have been on while reading). Oscar gave us free reign and we are taking his alter ego for a walk. We show him, sing him, dress him up, confirm him, contradict him, interpret him, impersonate him, comment on him, compare him, misunderstand him, obscure him and are his sister. You will see and look, listen and hear, and take him and us for a walk through your head and we get a tour through the castle and a lecture about the newest developments in philosophy by the philosopher herself or some of us get badly attacked by the hostile castle dog or is it the philosopher’s? That’s just how we’re made.
Concept and direction Thomas Hauert
Choreography, dance, singing, song texts and composition Thomas Hauert, Martin Kilvady, Sara Ludi, Chrysa Parkinson, Samantha van Wissen, Mat Voorter.
Music composition & piano Alejandro Petrasso
Text Oscar van den Boogaard
Voice over Stuart McQuarrie
Music composition Bart Aga
Soundtrack Aliocha Van der Avoort
Lighting et stage design Jan Van Gijsel
Technical director Jan Van Gijsel
Sound technician Peter Van Hoesen
Production ZOO/Thomas Hauert
Co-production Kaaitheater, Brussels / KunstenfestivaldesArts, Brussels / Théâtre de la Ville, Paris / Festival d’Automne à Paris / Tanzquartier Wien, Vienna / Charleroi Danses / Mercat de les Flors, Barcelona