Frank Willens is among several Berlin artists, including Tino Sehgal, Meg Stuart and Peter Stamer, whose use of dance, choreography, performance and interactivity pairs with social constructivism to take on new dimensions.
Poetry and dance have always shared a denigrated status across cultures for not commanding the material value of the other art forms and their attendant cultural sway, so it’s nice to see the two team up in defiance when the Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble joins forces with the Poetry Center of Chicago.
Humanoid, geometric forms shift against walls, foreshortening the perspective of long, narrow halls. People squeeze between them as they move from one room to the next, temporarily becoming part of the shapes and movement. It’s unsettling and oddly arousing, a satisfying shift in social conventions for how we interact with one another.
A difficult play to watch but Pulse Theatre’s skillfully acted, full-throttle production is painful with a purpose, capturing the work’s formidable darkness, complexity and ambiguity.