AN EYEWITNESS REPORT
Dessau, 1998: Unprejudiced and with an open mind, we, the audience, allowed ourselves to be collected at Walter Gropius’ Bauhaus in an American-style orange school bus and be driven to the old employment office designed by the same architect – the distance was a little less than a kilometer. Thus tuned in, we zoomed off into the world of the first Navigator piece “I’ve been to America too”. Even the bus driver had been instructed to drive his newly acquired vintage bus very, very slowly. The result was engine damage. Nevertheless, upon arrival, we gathered in the core of this building, where the play soon announced, “If you’re late, I’ll save you a spot with the egg sandwich.” There was a woman who, for ten minutes, moved like a snail from left to right across the floor, curled up with snail-twirled braids, whispering into a megaphone. Every now and then, there she was again, one might forget her – but spatially, she certainly made progress. And then Martin’s eyebrow, a mere twitch, turned us into children. Minimal Art with expression. In its purest form, it revealed a meticulous language of immense power. With bated breath, individual body parts hesitated, in unbearable slow motion, moving to a new place. The arm no longer recognized the leg. Every extremity displayed independence, exploring or gauging its own space. Sometimes tentatively, sometimes stretching as far as possible. The body remained oblivious, even if it seemed to dangle by the arm and not the other way around, as it should. The person undergoing all this wanted to appear indifferent, even though his mind was noticeably guiding. However, his gaze feigned indifference best. It’s tragic, hilariously funny, and utterly serious for Nico. Yet, these postures don’t exist. Utterly surreal. But we recognize them – very precisely. Absurd, radical poetry. Touchingly, the first Navigators stumbled into the world, decisive yet lost between longing for a substitute and deceit. Here, all of humanity’s glory was contained in a daisy. I had never experienced this before: Is less really more? When nothing happens, a little bit becomes everything. I saw America.
P.S: Thanks to this theatrical language, the Navigators now rush incessantly throughout Europe, tapping people. Meanwhile, they’ve sped away, with one masterpiece maturing after another. Nicola Hümpel is in her classical phase. But it’s true: When you read “Urfaust” and then “Faust” – “Urfaust” is simply the cooler play!
A production by Nico and the Navigators, supported by the Kulturfonds Berlin Foundation and the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation. Premiere: April 24, 1998 at Walter Gropius' Employment Office, Dessau.
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