I got into this piece. Kommer is an inspired portrayal of fragility and grief – it’s funnier that you might expect.
The first component features six actors (Dutch art collective, Kassys) interacting at a wake for a recently deceased friend. The fidgeting, awkward moments, and ridiculous desperation in thinking of something to say or do that will be meaningful was spot on. I felt myself twitching in my seat just watching these people. They gather around a stereo, but every song seems to be vaguely inappropriate for mourning. They mingle, and spout out weird comments. They encourage each other to cry, but only succeed in producing an out-of-place wail. At one point they are all compulsively digging into the planters (full of dead plants) scattered around the stage, trying to clarify their thoughts on their dead compatriot, while literally uprooting these plants.
As the actors move together to the front of the stage at the end of the first part, a large projection screen silently descends and we see a projection of the same actors making the same motions. The live actors exit the stage, and the second component begins: a film that follows the actors to the dressing room and out in their everyday lives.
And their everyday lives are desperately lonely. Oddly, it felt like the people on the screen were more truly alive than the characters I’d been watching on the stage. As if following them out into the ‘real world’ is when I really begin to understand kommer (grief). I was super-curious to know if Esther really does have a day job as a flight attendant, and is Ton really a junk food addict? Why do their ‘private’ lives seem just as ravaged as their characters on the stage?
Altogether a very cool end to the 2006 Out There Series.