Bridge Over Mud (2014)
The principal protagonist in Bridge Over Mud is a rambling landscape filled with technological apparatus and intricate objects. Projections, abstract images and noises emanate from these objects, fading before you have time to comprehend, an electro-mechanical object theatre that can only be grasped in terms of association and emotion.
Prior to commencing work on Bridge Over Mud Verdensteatret’s team was on tour almost continuously for a period of two years. The impression, materials and experiences they gathered during this time were then condensed into an opulent audio-visual composition. All elements of a play – text, images, movement, lighting, sound and video, are treated as if they were the instruments of an orchestra. Everything is interconnected, and everything can be treated as an aesthetic object. The artists collected what they termed flotsam: objects found by chance that now have been recycled to a new purpose. The artists make each object and apparatus: a plastic cup can turn into a delicate sculptural element.
The performers in Bridge Over Mud are mere tools of the machines and instruments. Clad in black, they loiter at the edges of the stage. Instead, the audience looks upon an expansive installation of several dozen meters of model railway tracks. Fragmented, detailed, both organic and mechanistic. A dozen wagons roll along the tracks, the light of their headlamps, broken by prisms, casts striations of light on the screen at the rear of the stage. Figurative metal objects drive through the room. Garlands, shaped like corals, rise through the space. The videos show forms that are reminiscent of landscapes, but there is no defined scale and the images thus defy classification. The sound dominates: rattling, droning and roaring, interspersed by silences. Fragments of voices can be heard.
The audience is left to make of this what it will: They hear the sound and the images. What they experience is simultaneously familiar and alien, comforting and threatening. The Verdensteatret thus remains true to the original meaning of its name: Bridge Over Mud is the “theatre of the world.”
..."This time the setting is a wide flat “field” of tracks, transporting objects and sculptures in all directions. There is something about the tracks and the whole visual setting that makes me think of Tarkovsky's science fiction movie “Stalker” (1979). The film works well as a prism for this work, but while Tarkovsky lets his characters leave their eveyday life and enter The Zone, in so many ways this work embodies a timeless Zone by itself. The span between deafening noise and the somewhat more fragile and unsteady, wavery space this performance creates seem to reflect the extremes of human existence. To get back to “Stalker”, there is another quote brought back to life by “Bridge over Mud”: “Weakness is something fantastic, strength is nothing.”
- Anette Therese Pettersen. Review in the Norwegian Newspaper Klassekampen
By and with: Lisbeth J Bodd, Asle Nilsen, Piotr Pajchel, Eirik Blekesaune, Torgrim Torve, Ali Djabbary, Martin Taxt, Espen Sommer Eide, Niklas Adam, Kristine R. Sandøy, Thorolf Thuestad, Elisabeth Carmen Gmeiner, Janne Kruse, Benjamin Nelson
Thanks to: Laurent Ravot and Piotr Nowak