“I’m happy to be performing this piece again,” says Maura Morales. Ballet director Bruno Heynderickx had asked her at short notice to bring her solo “request concert” to Darmstadt. He had planned the new trio “Cherchez la femme” as a guest performance of their “Cooperativa Maura Morales” at the Hessian State Ballet; but this cannot be performed at the moment because of the international cast. The good old “wish concert” from 2012 is currently experiencing “its fifth spring” or its “resurrection”, as Michio Woirgardt, the musician, the artistic and life partner of the choreographer and dancer, reports with a giggle.
The newer solo “Exceso de la nada” about Cuba and Morales’ connection to her home country was shown in Darmstadt in 2019. Morales once danced there in Mei Hong Lin’s dance theater, now she is regularly invited. This is one of the reasons why now the call for the “request concert”. After 90 performances in 16 countries, she put it in the box last year, with the label “played”. Her need to dance it had disappeared, says Maura Morales. But everything is different now.
Request concert of the stages
What being isolated in your own four walls or not, the unhappy being alone with yourself and a few items of furniture, became more conscious than usual due to the exit restrictions of the first pandemic weeks. The monodrama “Request Concert”, which Franz-Xaver Kroetz wrote in 1971, is now becoming the request concert of the stages and the piece about clamping becomes “Liberation”, according to Woirgardt. The Cooperativa, based in Düsseldorf, was the first independent dance ensemble to perform again in North Rhine-Westphalia at the beginning of June.
In the one-room apartment drawn by Claudio Capellini with black lines on white cardboard as a picture stage with kitchenette, shelves, sofa, rubbish bin, fluffy carpet, the equally colorless woman who comes in spends her so-called end of the day. She doesn’t relax. Her elbows and knees jerk as if a machine was driving. The apartment knows its habits and makes the clink of cups, the gurgling of the coffee machine, lighting matches, the creaking of doors, the running of the faucet and the toilet flush audible, even when the woman is visibly somewhere else. Something falls apart. Later she smokes, wipes the sink, picks up some fluff, flips through a notebook, repeats everything, faster and faster: the reality fake in the pantomime gives birth to a reality of its own, loses its connection to the apartment, to legibility.
This solo with sound doesn’t complain. It entertains, in a concert-like manner, and at the same time twists the understanding of entertainment. Bright and sad, eccentric in its neatness. By Kroetz once politically meant as a call for the uprising of the conformist and fitted-in, Morales turns the piece into a hidden or imagined private uprising against decency. Or, on the contrary, instead of getting up, her figure lapses: her tics and the man’s voice that sounds disembodied from the radio. She herself does not seem to have a voice, at most an internal one that pushes its way through the limbs of the woman’s body, misunderstood.