The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
Tanztheater Wuppertal, the company created by groundbreaking choreographer Pina Bausch, marked four decades of its revolutionary presence at the forefront of experimental dance theatre with these two remarkable performances.
Two Cigarettes In The Dark is a painful, ironically humorous and gripping depiction of a sophisticated society in decay. An onslaught on the senses, it represents the human condition as one of demented deprivation.
Performed in what could be taken for a white-walled laboratory where Bausch locates her darkest curiosities, the performers enact a psychotic outpouring of surreal day-to-day social and sexual hungers and rituals. Within seconds the pain threshold is breached in Helena Pikon's stunning opening sequence and from then on this production is a catalogue of human self-destruction, albeit in eloquent style and dress.
The performance, developed from close observation of social behaviours, employs an expressionistic matrix of body contortions with the choreography juxtaposing individual angst, abuse and cruelty with group acts of locked copulation and cyclic repetition.
Any relaxation in the tension offered by insidious male posturing or Mechthild Grossmann's wicked words of seduction is short-lived.
It is the excruciating pain of Thusnelda Mercy and the company of women that rips into the soul.
In contrast Vollmond is less cataclysmic and bound by personal psychosis.
This gift of a production (pictured), in which Ditta Miranda Jasjfi, Silvia Farias Heredia, Julie Anne Stanzak and Jorge Puerta Armenta excel, has a spectacular setting.
Moon-lit sheets of water fall beside a rock and beneath, within and skimming across them Bausch's choreography is at its most explosive and yet precise.
Wave after wave of ferocious body elevations and falls propel dancers and audience into another state of existence which, once experienced, is very difficult to leave behind.