by Allison Van Spaendonk
“After five years of intensive productivity, it’s time for a retrospective” (NBprojects).
In light of ‘5 years of Nicole Beutler’ Theater Kikker in Utrecht organized three special nights in Beutler’s honour. Four of Beutler’s pieces were presented during these three days in different combinations. Songs, Dialogue with Lucinda, The Garden and Still Life were presented at this mini festival. The ones that caught my attention were Songs and Dialogue with Lucinda. Two almost opposite performances when they’re compared to one another, but seeing them right after each other created a beautiful dialogue.
Choreographer and theatre director Nicole Beutler is known for her genre-busting, multi-medial performances. This mini festival is the perfect celebration of her work. Not only does it show her diversity, but it also shows the connections between different pieces that weren’t visible before. Songs is a performance that celebrates “words of heroines from classical literature brought back to life in a wild pop concert” (NBprojects). In comparison to Dialogue With Lucinda, Songs can be seen as a more chaotic and bold performance. There’s one actress on stage and she presents the words of eleven different well-known literary characters. The words of these literary characters are presented in a kind of rock-and-roll performance. So they’re put in an entirely different context. A bold way of presenting these different characters but it works really well. The talented actress is able to jump from one song to the other presenting all these women in a very passionate way. It is mesmerizing to look at.
Dialogue with Lucinda is structurally the opposite of Songs. Dialogue with Lucinda is based on some pieces of the minimalist choreographer Lucinda Childs. This performance focused on “the collective body in symmetrical patterns” (NBprojects). Structurally it might be the opposite of Songs, but in another way it is in perfect dialogue with it. Dialogue with Lucinda celebrates another strong woman, Lucinda Childs. Not in her words but in her movements and way of choreographing. The piece by Beutler is based on Radial Courses and Interior Drama by Lucinda Childs, two pieces that are dominated by complexity and an undecipherable structure. Because of the undecipherable structure of this performance it is in contrast with Songs. Songs has a more chaotic but recognisable structure. Because they are so in contrast with each other, the diversity of Beutler is emphasized.