solo no. 17_the garden
Premiere: 12th May 2004, Den Anden Opera, Copenhagen.
In solo no.17_the garden, the scenographic landscape is created from a row of microphones that magnify and distort the sound. Different stage-sets are built up from microphone stands, floor tape, and a simple video recording of the evening's audience. The musical universe stretches from a tango sung by the great Lebanese singer Fairouz to modern orchestral music by Olivier Messiaen.
Concept, choreography and dance: Anders Christiansen
Composition for microphones: Jørgen Teller
Music: Olivier Messiaen, Rahbani Brothers
Costume design: Lise Klitten
Lighting design: Lars Egegaard Sørensen
Video: Mikal Bing
Producer / PR: Lars Vind-Andersen, Paw Petersen
Minimum stage measurements: 10 x 10 metres
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”On the stage, the only props which make up the set-design, are the microphones, set up as grazing giraffes with stretched necks, but as we soon find out they are turned up to hypersensitivity. Everything we do as an audience is registered. And not only by the microphones, we realize. Christiansen's characteristic figure sits in the far corner of the stage, dressed in an impeccable suit. It is this gazer, this quiet enchanter who alone owns the stage for the next hour.
Christiansen's movement is vulnerable, slowly it breaks into a space of pain, where nothing is given beforehand. And it means that it opens miraculously for presence. The question of whether one can be present in a room at all is held on a tight leash, and the connection never slackens even if the associations are allowed to wander. Not one single idea or movement is approached traditionally. In an unforgettable clean-up session, Christiansen transforms the pieces of gaffa-tape he shortly before used as position markers, into something that looks like living snakes. In another scene he finally takes off his silver shoes to croon the world's deepest sigh.
”Wherever this gardener of presence appears on the stage, he is like an alchemist in his laboratory. This man does not seek, he finds. He invents ways to move on stage like no other before him. And it hits one deeply with humour, destiny and touching lightness. This is the enchantment of art, that it looks so damned easy when it succeeds. And this, I have to say, just sells itself with the wizard's magical reinvention of what can be done on stage.”
Janus Kodal (Politiken, 19th May 2004)
Den Anden Opera, Copenhagen, 12-22 May 2004.
solo no. 17_the garden was produced with support from The Danish Arts Council, The State Arts Foundation, Augustinus Fonden, Københavns Kulturfond.
Photographs: Paw Petersen
In all pictures: Anders Christiansen