Words such as turbulence and electricity get a new sensuality, when images of hurricanes and fire storms spread across both the stage and the backdrop, covering the full performance space, or when the noisy interference between electrical impulses and choir sounds crackle dangerously close to each other. It makes sense.
It is in the beauty Kirsten Dehlholm conveys her thoughts. The question is perhaps whether something as dramatic as the state of the world is transformed to mere aesthetics and heavy thoughts. I don’t think so. The experience is intense and meaningful.
Art cannot save the world, but less may also do.
****** Ungt teaterblod
Hotel Pro Forma, the makers of “NeoArctic”, deliver with this performance perfection beyond all boundaries. The theme is the world of destruction, our climate that slowly crumbles, and through virtual and visual effects they manage to create a stunning universe of the world, which is slowly degraded.
With one of the world’s best chamber choirs, elite technicians and an enormous research, this is one of the most successful and well-prepared performances that I’ve ever seen.
The performance was created for Latvian Radio Choir, singing the strange discords with perfect distance – as a common moan from a tribe not expecting any rescue. And at the Royal Theatre’s Old Stage, conductor Kaspars Putnins controls the voices towards destruction without hesitation.
The surprising and almost divine effect is that the light shines as a life-giving force in the shape of a round spot of light that is growing and approaching the audience. But that it disappears and almost draws the life out of the audience and of the world. Violently and irrevocably. As a greeting from the ‘absent god’, which Sjón’s text is talking about. Here, the sense of magic arises that Hotel Pro Forma can conjure up like no other theatre. Mercilessly beautiful.
**** Gregers Dirckinck-Holmfeld, independent theatre critic
’NeoArctic’ is made up of chains of huge images, overwhelming video projections, that slowly, beautifully and strangely move across the round horizon, color orgies that change with the oppressive, abstract visions of icy cold, parched sand, underground caves – human settlements in all times, at one point a very real tsunami disaster as an image of the unruly and uncontrollable nature, we are up against.
The music has two composers, the Latvian Krists Auznieks and the British Andy Stott, their partly electronic and partly acoustic language is like a mighty sustained pedal note spanning the duration of the work (80 min.), full of trickling details but coherent it acts as a giant cluster, sounds in painful constant stranglehold of each other, sometimes shortly redeemed by general breaks or single sounds, separated from the close friendship.
Kirsten Dehlholm had earned last year’s honorary award by the Reumert awards. Her latest performance NeoArctic, made in collaboration with the Latvian Radio Choir, is an extension of her lifelong deconstruction of artistic genre boundaries. A visual melancholy requiem over the land and the nature that we as humans ourselves are a part of and which we disturb and slowly destroy.
The music is the most surprising element of the performance. The meeting between a classical choir sound that, amplified, mixes with electronic dub and reverb sounds and electronic deep-water rumbles is an ear opener. It’s a party, if you have a taste for the more experimental side of electronic music and the classic dissonant and repetitive modernism. Rarely are you so well entertained by the mixing of the human voice and electronics synthetic sounds. Often, this genre mix happens at the expense of one of the parts. The two composers’ music enriches and colors each other.
And a great triumph for Latvian Radio Choir, who sing for 80 focused minutes of very difficult rhythmic and harmonic sequences like little angels.
**** Magasinet KBH
The curtain goes up to the overwhelming vision that is most comparable to a scene from a twisted nativity play: 16 people in colorful robes standing there, looking at us from somewhere behind their red goggles and crooked shepherd branches, protruding above the crowd. They simply stand there. Stock-still and forceful. Soon, they commence singing, as the big screen behind them, which displays one impressive picture after another. The images, sounds and elusive creatures on stage soon melts together the elusive substance that we spend the next one and a half hour in the company of.