10 October 2010

Review: Stiflers Dinge

MIAF 2010
Stiflers Dinge
Melbourne International Arts Festival 
Heiner Goebbels
8 October 2010
CUB Malthouse, Merlyn Thearte
to 12 October

Stiflers Dinge (Stifler's Things) is one of the reasons we must always have wonderful arty farty festivals. It's art created for the sake of simply being beautiful and mesmerising. It's art that leaves its meaning and relevance up to its audience and it finishes on Tuesday.

Deconstructing Heiner Goebells' strange and wonderful world of theatre without people will never do it justice. It's an experience that doesn't scream the creator's intent or make you think about anything that isn't the important to your own world.

Five pianos are stripped of their cases and played by programmed Meccano-like arms or hidden electronics. They sit in a world with leafless trees that looks like the backyard shed of an obsessed-musican or a forest so beautiful that I want to live in it. With moving platforms, screens, projections and pools that are sprinkled with sand and filled with water, images have a life that changes, moves and surprises as music, sounds and voices are heard from different places.

Goebbels sources include indigenous songs from Papua New Guinea, JS Bach, an interview with Malcolm X, the side panel of a fifteeth-century chest and the relatively unknown writings of Adalbert Stifter. Out of context, this cacophony of sounds and contradictory images has no place other than the study of a mad obsessed artist, but they are blended to create something that makes them seem created for each other.

Goebbels says that this amazing thing was created to "raise questions" and "share experiences". It's easy to find messages as he lets us (or forces us) to focus on music, sound or art from a different perspective – like exploring the minutiae of a painting that takes it from a forest devoid of life to one filled with animals to a blood-thirsy hunt  – but the messages are just for you. The genius of Stiflers Dinge is that you take whatever you want from it.

This review appears on AussieTheatre.com.

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