Directed by: Alain Platel –– Production: les Ballets C de la B (Belgium) –– Coproduction: Ruhrtriennale, La Bâtie-Festival de Genève, TorinoDanza, La Biennale de Lyon, L’Opéra de Lille, Kampnagel Hamburg, MC93 - Maison de la Culture de la Seine-Saint-Denis, Holland Festival Amsterdam, Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele
Composition and musical direction: Steven Prengels –– Creation and performance: Bérengère Bodin, Boule Mpanya, Dario Rigaglia, David Le Borgne, Elie Tass, Ido Batash, Romain Guion, Russell Tshiebua, Samir M’Kirech –– Dramaturgy: Hildegard De Vuyst –– Musical dramaturgy: Jan Vandenhouwe –– Artistic assistance: Quan Bui Ngoc –– Set design: Berlinde De Bruyckere –– Light design: Carlo Bourguignon –– Sound design: Bartold Uyttersprot –– Costume design: Dorine Demuynck –– Production: les ballets C de la B (Belgium) –– Coproduction: Ruhrtriennale, La Bâtie-Festival de Genève, la Biennale de Lyon, L’Opéra de Lille, MC93 - Maison de la Culture de la Seine-Saint-Denis, TorinoDanza, Holland Festival, Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, Kampnagel Hamburg –– With the support of: City of Ghent, Province East Flanders, the Flemish authorities & Port of Ghent –– Distribution: Frans Brood Productions
A group of men gathers around some dead horses to perform a ritual. Summarized in one sentence like this, nicht schlafen might retain the semblance of a story. But everything instantly contradicts this notion. The area of the archaic cult is bounded by a giant blanket. And amongst the men there is one woman. Is this the staging of a new Rite of Spring? Will a woman be sacrificed once more to atone for failing masculinity? The new production of director Alain Platel uses the work of the Austrian composer Gustav Mahler as its starting point. It wasn’t love at first sight for Platel. Initially, he did feel particularly affinity with the era Mahler expresses in his work: an age of great acceleration and disruption leading up to the First World War. But then, in the nervousness and aggressiveness, passion and yearning for a lost harmony that is expressed by Mahler's music, Platel discovered also a match for the images he’s looking for in his work.
“The charged and hypersensitive style of Mahler’s symphonies, with their big emotional extremes, slid itself into the performance at a very deep level. Violence and aggression are present subcutaneously, as if an eruption could happen at any moment. ... The group tableaux, in all their visual suggestion, are wonderful.” (De Standaard, September 2016)
“Alain Platel’s dancing illuminates our fears. In nicht schlafen, everything boils down to an utter and relentless dance, whether virtuoso or intimate dancing. Platel no longer seeks the tension of marginal movements, but gives free rein to a liberating dance in response to the heady power of Mahler's music.” (La Libre Belgique, September 2016)