Theatrical Research That Pulls No Punches
Hans van Dam

The contrast between expectation and actual performance will seldom be greater than when watching the new project by choreographer and performer Ivana Müller. Whereas the text on the flyer describes continually changing images, onstage there is almost complete standstill, but then to such an extent that one begins to sympathise with the five performers who must hold their poses until almost the point of collapse. The only movements they are permitted are those necessary for the uttering of lines and making facial gesture.
The frozen poses nonetheless fit wonderfully well into a wide variety of imagined stories: about a rock band, about a picnic or about meaning it itself. All the stories are able to come into their own using the same visual mainstays. All this goes to show that ‘the way things are’ need not impose meaning.
But Müller goes far further still. She ultimate stirs the very core of art in this antithesis of the Victorian tableau vivant and the implied imaginary awakening from the collective intoxication of the Dionysian orgies. The content may be densely theoretical, but Müller manages nonetheless to provide a light, humorous touch. It is all done very cleverly, but as an audience member one must also be an enthusiastic fellow researcher in order to let it work. This makes the spectator’s role almost as arduous as that of the motionless performers. But even so it is extraordinary that, travelling so lightly, it is possible to navigate the universe of human significance.

published in Rotterdams Dagblad