Together with Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Jolente De Keersmaeker, forty-four dancers enter into a dialogue with the natural landscape, where factors such as sound and silence, light and dark, distance and proximity become a matter of perspective, and where both new possibilities and boundaries emerge. In search of an ecological aesthetic they leave behind the four walls of the theatre for a performance that requires few theatrical interventions and fuse seamlessly with the natural environment.
The woods and the night sky offer the perfect backdrop for the ‘dreams’ to which the title Somnia refers. The first of the dreams is Somnium, a novel by the seventeenth-century astronomer Johannes Kepler, in which science and science fiction merge to show that the planets revolve around the sun in an elliptic orbit. The second dream underpinning the performance is A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Combining Shakespeare and Kepler, the dancers explore the intersection of text, dance and music playing with gravity while guided by fantastic stories in a space-time far beyond the borders of urban theatre. Somnia is the graduation project for the PARTS’ final-year students.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
In four days, the duke of Athens, Theseus, will marry Hippolyta, the queen of the Amazons. Egeus comes to the court to ask advice about his daughter Hermia. She refuses to marry Demetrius, and plans to flee into the forest with Lysander, her true love. Demetrius and Helena, a friend of Hermia who in turn is in love with Demetrius, follow them. Meanwhile, in the forest, a group of artisans is rehearsing Pyramus and Thisbe, a play that they intend to perform at the Duke’s wedding.
In the same forest, the elf king and queen Oberon and Titania are engaged in a fierce argument. Oberon wants his wife to hand over her servant, an Indian boy, but she refuses. Oberon then comes up with a plan. He sends his servant Puck out for the juice of an enchanted flower, which he drops into the eyes of Titania while she is asleep. When she wakes up, she will fall in love with the first creature she sets eyes on. It turns out to be Bottom, one of the craftsmen, whom Puck has provided with a donkey’s head.
Meanwhile, Demetrius and Helena walk into the forest, looking for Hermia and Lysander. Oberon decides to lend Helena a hand and, using the same magic flower, make sure that Demetrius also falls in love with Helena. He orders Puck to look for a young man in Athenian attire and in the company of a woman, so he can enchant him. Puck, however, first encounters the sleeping Lysander and Hermia, and, convinced that he is carrying out his assignment well, drops the juice into Lysander’s eyes. The latter, however, is awakened by Helena, who passes his sleeping place in pursuit of Demetrius. He falls head over heels in love with her and follows her, and when Hermia later wakes up alone and ignorant, she goes looking for him.
Eventually Oberon and Puck lift the spell from Lysander, so he can marry Hermia and Demetrius can marry Helena. Titania’s spell is broken as well, Bottom loses his donkey’s head and Oberon and Titania reconcile. That evening the joint wedding party of Theseus and Hippolyta and the two young couples takes place. The artisans, rejoined by Bottom, perform Pyramus and Thisbe.
Created with Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Jolente De Keersmaeker
With Rita Alves (PT), Maureen Bator (FR), Cassandre Cantillon (BE), Calvin Carrier (UK), Wai Lok Chan (HK), Aminata Diallo (FR), Synne Enoksen (NO), Papis Faye (SN), José Fernandez (ES), Carolina Ferreira (PT), Némo Flouret (FR), Rafael Dos Santos (BR), Jonas Gineika (LT), Tessa Hall (NZ), Hanako Hayakawa (JP), Hyeonseok Lee (KR), Thomas Higginson (UK), Mei-Ning Huang (TW), Cheyenne Illegems (BE), Keren Kraizer (IL), Georges Labbat (FR), Robson Ledesma (BR), Eimi Leggett (JP), Ivan Lucadamo (ES), Lydia McGlinchey (AU), Audrey Merilus (FR), Vasco Mirine (MZ), Fouad Nafili (MA), Azusa Namba (JP), Timothy Nouzak (AT), Stanley Ollivier (FR), Alban Ovanessian (FR), Jean-Baptiste Portier (FR), Margarida Ramalhete (PT), Luis Ramirez Munoz (CO), Myriam Rosser (ES), Julia Rubies (ES), Cintia Sebök (HU), Joshua Serafin (PH), Mariana Silva (BR), Judith Van Oeckel (BE), Mooni Van Tichel (BE), Gustavo Vieira (BR), Mamadou Wague (FR)
Location Kasteelpark Gaasbeek
Coproduction Rosas, tg STAN, Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Agentschap Natuur & Bos, Kasteel van Gaasbeek Presentation Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Kaaitheater, Agentschap Natuur & Bos, Kasteel van Gaasbeek
Thanks to Ictus, De School van Gaasbeek, Drinks Limbourg, de gemeente Lennik
P.A.R.T.S. is supported by the Flemish Ministry of Education
Video by Olivia Rochette & Gerard-Jan Claes
Camera Ruben Desiere, Pieter Dumoulin
Sound Lennert De Taeye, Nina de Vroome, Lieselot Everaert
Editing Olivia Rochette, Gerard-Jan Claes, Lennert De Taeye
Color grading Lennert De Taeye