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With 'One Song', the Belgian visual artist Miet Warlop has created the 4th part in the series 'Histoire(s) du Théâtre', at the invitation of the Belgian city theatre NTGent and its artistic director, acclaimed theatre director Milo Rau.
One Song is a masterful ‘exercise in repetition’: A group of musicians/competitors perform a single song on a loop while doing an extreme workout. Throughout, as the performers thoroughly exhaust themselves, a male cheerleader and a group of fans take turns encouraging and booing them, while a referee mumbles incomprehensibly in the background.
One Song lingers in the mind as a wild, exhilarating study in absurdity.
A group of performers enters the arena for a mesmerizing ritual about farewell, life and death, hope and resurrection. Together they go through extremes: through sung text, images and objects, oxygen and sweat, they evoke our human condition. Again and again, someone stands up to push their boundaries. They defy time and give expression to a deep human need: the moment when we can transcend our thinking body. Through the metaphor of a live competition/concert, including a commentator and a cheerleader, Miet Warlop invites us to form a community and lift each other up, as in a celebration. The temporary thus becomes the universal, and the personal becomes something of the collective. That is the subtext of this show: how one song can give meaning to a whole society. Unity in diversity, an exhausting dance in all its beauty.
The Belgian visual artist Miet Warlop (1978) was born in Torhout. She lives and works between Ghent and Brussels. Miet Warlop holds a master’s degree in visual arts from KASK, Ghent. Her reflection on theatre as an art form leads to a physical concept in which we recognize elements from previous productions. It typifies Warlop’s artistic signature that her themes and motifs sometimes resurface years later: in her oeuvre, everything is connected, implicitly or explicitly. It is circular, like life itself, in many ways. The ritual concert with a choreographic pattern was the basis for various previous productions, including Fruits of Labor (2016), and Ghost Writer and The Broken Hand Break (2018).
Performers dance and sing, musicians play and sing, the athletes compete and sing, the fans cheer and – yes, sing. Invariably one and the same song. A sporting, dance, theatrical and music spectacle like no other
Concept, director & set design: Miet Warlop
With: Simon Beeckaert, Stanislas Bruynseels, Rint Dens, Judith Engelen, Elisabeth Klinck, Marius Lefever, Willem Lenaerts, Luka Mariën Milan Schudel, Melvin Slabbinck, Joppe Tanghe, Karin Tanghe, Wietse Tanghe, Flora Van Canneyt, Jarne Van Loon
Music: Maarten Van Cauwenberghe
Production: NTGent, Miet Warlop / Irene Wool vzw