A prominent Belgian company Ultima Vez came to Prague for the seventh time last December to introduce one of theirlatest productions. Production Radical Wrong as a generational statement of teenagers today and in their own interpretation is a perfect psychological probe of Wim Vandekeybus into the world of young people, both in the preparatory stage, where he let them do anything, and in the final implementation. Rebelling against themselves and everything, seeking life values that complywith the society they are part of. Believing that they are both its salvation and promise for the future and if you do not believe (in)them, it is not their fault, but yours.
Those who know the work of the company and their direction would not question/doubt that both the work and performances of young artists were impressive, often on the very edge of human limits with strong emotions and an incredible influx of energy. A model example of physical theater.
Interaction with the audiences maintained the maximum tensionnot only in the precariousness of the moment, when you may well become part of the performance, and the uncertainty whether you would cope with that or not. Although the author himself described the piece as an anti-production, one can see there a clear dramaturgical line and context, both pointing with index finger at the master and his students.
At the beginning the characters and skills of individual protagonists are determined. There was no doubt that their dance qualities wereoutstanding, and the impression the young performers left was multiplied by great vocal performance, including excellent singing. A tough girl, a blonde or brunette in a way-too short skirt, a French bisexual, a muscular Cuban, a cunningpetty merchant, a fearful hooded Nazi or a phlegmatic sound engineer. An ordinary weekend of a bunch anywhere, anytime. For example, a camp at the festival: loud music, beatbox, alcohol, aggression and trying to be seen and, if possible, to profit from it. Dance started situations and accentuated emotions. Range of movement was within the trends of our time: clear influences of all styles of street dance artistically utilized for contemporary dance. Specifically, one could mentiona stylization of some form of Battles-jamming (street competition in street dance) as the battle of duets and overall it could be said that some sort of aggression and fights were the focus of most of the choreography. Yet in the style both the present situation and the future of contemporary dance were presented. For that matter, one could hardly expect anything else at the stage of Archa Theatre and with the title of such a company.
The production (oras the author claims, an anti-production) Radical wrong showed everything young people can and want handle and what they are interested in. After all, a deep philosophy based on the frustration of today's state of the world can be traced there too, or we can just get carried away by what life and dance bring. What is important at the moment and at that age fades out in time and one can laugh sarcastically at the teen rebellion.
Or "fuck it off". Because that is appreciated, too.
Written from the Czech premiere on the 5th December 2011, Archa Theatre.
Photo: Pieter-Jan De Pue
Translation: Tomáš Valníček