Opera House, Wuppertal
October 5, 2019
Premiered in 2009, …como el musquito en la piedra, ay, si, si, si… (Like moss on the stone) is Pina Bausch’s final work. Created after time in Chile spent with the company, she generates images based on realistic aspects of her Chilean experience and memories. Delicate poetry and wit run all over the piece; a patchwork of behavioural patterns and love paradoxes alongside some stereotypes of Chile, one of Bausch’s beloved countries. Love and grief, attachment and denial, affection and detachment, commitment and rebellion are only few insights of the infinite aspects of humankind egregiously elaborated and described.
Need and the pleasure of togetherness; and the simultaneous desires of freedom, attachment and compliance in contrast with solitude and independence, clearly emerge in numerous scenes. Peculiar and yet appropriate stories are rich in bizarre, comic, sweet and poetic nuances.
Women and men play by their rules respecting gender conformity but opposites and moments of rebellion are always present. Mischievous and playful, the dancers smile impishly as they command each other to obey certain orders. The behavioural patterns and messages within them are clear.
The colourful, elegant, sensuous dresses, as always by Marion Cito, create a flowery landscape in movement on the white stage floor that imperceptibly cracks as if it were composed of ice. Those broken lines on the stage floor appear as wounds that open and close. Although the piece is enveloped in a general light humour, it contains nuances of distress and disillusion. Perhaps a remark on the fact that a constantly happy facade often hides a deep unveiled sadness.
Moments of pure beauty warm the cold stage. The women often appear as marvellous swans, arching their backs backwards while dropping small rocks or when they lift and stretch their legs when raised up by the men.
It’s the powerful and beautiful women in control over the men and who dictate their rules. The men are fully mesmerised by the mysterious creatures. At times cruel, the women play around with the disposable men as they lay claim to what has been negated to them over centuries. A sort of demand? Maybe.
Yet, for sure, here the women need the men tremendously and vice-versa. They search for and support each other. They exchange tenderness and affection. They tease each other. There is a constant playfulness in the artificiality yet truthfulness of the flourishing happenings. Towards the end some scenes are repeated in a remark upon the tendency to incessantly repeat certain behavioural patterns. Various attempts to break with the particular dynamics are present but they end up happening again.
Plurality and richness of intent emerges in the mosaic-like work with a narrative that is familiar to every human being. The subtle content is composed of fine choices, the work’s complexity a reflection of the humankind’s insights and behaviours.
Pina Bausch superbly reaches picks of intuition and understanding of those behaviours, transforming them into things of wonder for the final time. Only, just occasionally, it feels that some parts are not entirely finished, as if they are embryonic ideas to be further developed or perhaps they were deliberately left a little raw. Maybe it was meant to underline the inconclusiveness and inexplicability of human behavioural territories.