Nelken, a beautiful light pink garden of thousands of carnations evades one’s eye welcoming everyone to sit comfortably thinking perhaps of Spring, maybe of Winter setting off the scene to bring dancers on stage.
One at the time, the cast carefully migrates through the beautiful garden in a manner not to hurt or step on any carnations – everything became precious, delicate and idolised allowing for a dramatic composition to arise through the clicking sound of shoes walking through the maze of flowers.
Dressed in 1930’s suits, dancers turn towards the audience inviting people; myself included to go over to the side for a quick chat with the performer wielding the scene, thus opening the performance directly to the audience.
Scott Jennings initiates a gestural and paced solo to the lonesome sound of ‘the man I love’, professing a delicate touch, brush and whisk of his face turning the spotlight onto the charming lyrics of the music together with his statuesque and intimate performance.
Nelken is open to different interpretations; one is invited perhaps to witness life, as it happens on stage through aggressive even violent dialogues or through playing innocent games were men become dogs always drawing attention to the overwhelming generosity of the cast, consistently opening up the multi- layered and emotionally charged theatre bearings.
One can see Nelken, as a large landscape moving painting for readers to marvel and continuously smile on the reflection of the self.
Nelken ( Carnations) premiered in 1982 in Germany and remains a fresh and decisive work of art, incredibly relevant and pertinent one can’t help drawing parallels to the current climate of social exclusion and displacement in the world.
A worldly cast, Tanztheater Wuppertal is a prosperous and empirical flow in itself, sophistically feeding on the widest variety of experiences, housing dancers of all ages carrying a quasi-real-life performance, undistinguishably important to the dance-theatre of Pina Bausch.
The late Pina Bausch staged authentic life situations, and absurdity brings humour to the phenomenal, prodigious and timeless Nelken.
Men carrying on dressing gowns on their naked bodies as they dance extensively on chairs, amongst the flowers and on top of tables drawing even further attention to detail, gesture and the expressive human condition in freedom. Continually accompanied by confessional dialogues and monologues intensifying the human characteristics of Nelken.
Peter Pabst’s set design evolves at a fast but inconspicuous rhythm, as the dramatic landscape changes but none understands how the dancers appear and vanish amongst the garden of carnations. Slowly becoming a ruin of wrecked flowers, where the mesmerising Nelken line takes shape, weaving through a yard of dead flowers growing into a humanistic experience, connecting audiences directly to the insights of dancers, via their assertive eye contact and wholehearted performances.