"A view of the stars through a pair of red binoculars"
Raimund Hoghe's solo "Another Dream"
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 2001
Two red graveyard lamps flicker in the half-light of the stage. A small man dressed in black walks on and off in front of and behind the lamps. Whenever he changes direction, it is always at right angles. He is holding a small ship in his hand and he waves it to and fro as if it were a censer. We hear the strains of music by Mahler from Visconti's film Death in Venice. Suddenly the music stops and the singer Dalida begins a song invoking 'life, life, life', while at the same time Raimund Hoghe allows himself to be seduced into performing a wild dance.
Meinwärts was his first solo in 1994, and dealt with the biography of the tenor Joseph Schmidt against the background of the forties. Chambre séparée in 1997 dealt with the period of the German Wirtschaftswunder. In Another Dream, which is the last part of the trilogy, the focus is on the fault-line of the sixties. In his completely unique theatre Raimund Hoghe creates an encounter between the rigidity of Japanese theatre, American performance art and German Expressionism with its interest in human emotions. The action on stage remains abstract, with emotion appearing only in the songs.
The dramatic material in Another Dream also consists of a number of chansons. Each song represents a task that has to be fulfilled. This time however, and this is in accordance with the theme, the songs are taken from the sixties and each of them, like Mahalia Jackson's Sometimes I feel like a motherless child, also evokes a little bit of history. Like a ritual incantation, Raimund Hoghe repeats the words 'I remember' and then evokes the power of the cinema over the twelve-year-old boy that he was. The two red graveyard lights suddenly become a pair of binoculars, through which Hoghe gazes at the stars, to the sounds of Somewhere from West Side Story. A clear ray of light roams through the theatre thus giving both Hoghe and the audience an opportunity to daydream about their fantasies and desires, or even to become someone else.
Hoghe formulates his memories in such a way that he evokes historical events in a moment that is subjective and purely private. He is completely immersed in himself and appears to carry out his minor actions purely for his own benefit. Like all Raimund Hoghe's work, Another Dream is also a game involving the proportions of the body in space and a careful setting out of basic lines which, marked by just a few items, form a geometrical pattern. But his 'I' always stands for us and our memories. His body stands in our place on stage. It is disfigured by a hump and enables us to experience reality through proportions that do not comply with the norm. It unfolds a network of associations and thus allows us to enter into our own mortality.
In this sense Hoghe's work is a reminder of the cult function of theatre. Like a priest, he creates a sort of community in collective and subjective memories. However he does not allow it to become too solemn. One is sometimes allowed to laugh at his apparently severe solo performance. He captures something of the absurdity of those years when he performed a cheerleader's dance to Cilla Black's silly song One, two, three, whilst waving five sticks decorated with feathers, or when he wriggled across the floor to the tune of Joan Baez' hymn of the civil rights movement, We shall overcome, like an absurd champagne revolutionary while marking time with a smoke-stick held decadently between his fingers. He carries out the movements very seriously and precisely and they are always the expression of an unrestrained, almost child-like, instinct for life. This makes them so complex in their simplicity.
The evening consists of two parts. After slightly more than an hour the popular songs come to an end and the serious part begins with Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps. He remembers Jackie Kennedy's pink suit all covered in blood when her husband was shot in Dallas. He remembers Martin Luther King expressing the wish that he would live a long life, just days before he was murdered. Raimund Hoghe conjures up the irony of fate that turns an ordinary life into something special. He ends on an optimistic note. It is expressed in a poem by Rose Ausländer who was bedridden towards the end of her life, with the words, 'Wirf Deine Angst in der Luft'. This is what Raimund Hoghe does in each new work. We should thank him for his art.
Translation: Gregory Ball
(Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 8.2.2001)