(Alexis Soloski's article ran in the Village Voice, 11/10.)
Heiner Müller Gets the Robert Wilson Treatment in Quartet
Over the course of a 40-year career, Robert Wilson's directorial techniques have grown so influential that they now risk appearing outmoded. Indeed, his production of Heiner Müller's Quartett, which he has revived for BAM's New Wave Festival, has all the familiar Wilson stylistic features: sculptural gestures, inventive props, a dearth of animal passion, and an excess of light and sound cues. Müller's text reduces Choderlos de Laclos's 18th-century epistolary novel, Les Liaisons dangereuses, to just 12 pages, distilling all the amours and intrigues into a psychosexual pas de deux between the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont. Wilson expands those 12 pages into 90 minutes, adding three non-speaking actors—an elderly man and two nubile youths.
(Ben Brantley's review ran in The New York Times, 11/6.)
A Minuet Between Sexual Predators
Passion burns cold in Robert Wilson’s trance-inducing production of “Quartett,” Heiner Müller’s ruthless reimagining of Choderlos de Laclos’s 18th-century novel “Les Liaisons Dangereuses.” Lights of many colors dye the all-too-mortal flesh of the figures assembled here to recall the blood-drawing games of lust they once shared. Sometimes their faces glow a reptilian green; on other occasions they are drenched in satanic red.
Yet the hues that seem to capture their spirit most exactly are a frostbitten blue and a pure Arctic white. The dying woman at the center of this forbidding journey into retrospect, which is being conducted at the Harvey Theater of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, may have lived her life in the heat of a chain of carnal embraces. But her world is definitely ending not in fire but ice.
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