Greta Thunberg's famous words “our house is on fire!” are a call for action and panic. But do we feel panic? Do we spring into action? The dance performance OUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE is about the paradox between understanding and actually taking a next step. Can we hear her?
Choreographer Nicole Beutler zooms in on that one phrase: “our house is on fire”. Eight dancers look for new ways to understand and amplify Greta's urgent message. Through dance, music, text and powerful images, the words are allowed to sink deep into our subconscious minds. The dancers use their whole being to make us feel this one sentence in every vein of our bodies, in the hope that the message will finally get through to us.
Created as coproduction with Norrdans (SE)
OUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE was created in 2020 in collaboration with the dancers of the Swedish company Norrdans. Norrdans presents new contemporary work by established international choreographers and new talent. The company mainly focuses on a young audience. Norrdans perform their works all over Sweden, with a particular focus on the north of Sweden. After the Swedish tour in 2020, OUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE will come to the Netherlands with a new Dutch cast.
A performance suitable for audiences of the age of 12 years and up.
Cast & Credits
Language: Language No Problem
Age: 12 – 99+
Duration: 1 hour
Concept, direction: Nicole Beutler
Dramaturgy: Igor Dobricic
Music: Gary Shepherd
Video, scenography & lighting design: Erno Aaltonen
Created with and performed by the dancers of Norrdans (SE): Rebecka Berchtold, Sam Huczkowski, Nastia Ivanova, Seung Hwan Lee, Chang Leo Liu, Jade Steenhuijs, Jonathan Starr, Alban Ovanessian
Dancers NL-version: Rob Polmann, Lucinda Wessels, Hellen Boyko, Marjolein Vogels, Melyn Chow, Robin Lesley Nimanong, Liah Frank, Margarida Constantino
Rehearsal director: Isaac Spencer (during creation & tour Sweden) João Dinis Pinho (tour NL)
Lighting design NL, light technician: Prem Scholte Albers
Sound technician: Martin Kaffarnik
Costume design: Nicole Beutler, Annette Hägglund
Costume in NL: Jessica Helbach, Oneroomoffice
Thanks to: Christian Guerematchi (first cast NL)
Production: Norrdans, Nicole Beutler Projects
With the support of (NL): Fonds Podiumkunsten, Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst, Goethe-Institut Niederlande
Acquisition en tour planning: Theaterzaken Via Rudolphi
from: Moos van den Broek, Theaterkrant 11 februari 2021
We have to save the world, that is the straightforward and somewhat one-dimensional message of Our house is on fire. Choreographer Nicole Beutler stole Greta Thunberg's phrase and used it as the starting point for her new work. She repeats the phrase numerous times in a sleek crossover between dance, graphic design and fashion.
Our house is on fire; the sentence is projected on a red canvas in large white letters. A soundscape softly emits a light rattling, which is occasionally disturbed by a penetrating sound. Then one by one eight astronaut-like figures in red suits appear on the stage, taking up different positions in front of the canvas. A simple choreography is created from sign language, and finally the eight dancers form the letters of the sentence on the backstage. An exercise that they repeat several times during the piece.
Our house is on fire is an almost graphically designed work, in which Beutler plays with body, text, projection, light and costume. She previously created the choreography under the banner of the Swedish dance company Norrdans, which usually produces work for a young audience as well. The piece has already traveled extensively in the north of Sweden. This new version was created by Beutler with her own company and was streamed live from Frascati, where I was one of the few to see it live (curious about the other version!).
After the astronauts disappear, the image of a beautiful pine forest in mist clouds emerges, followed by drone images of raw, high rock walls. The color of the narrow, wide floor parallel to the screen changes as the music composition takes a dramatic turn. It is the dancers who eventually set a new and light tone on the front stage when they run with airplane's safety instructions. Objectively seen, Our house is on fire is a bit of a mishmash. But Beutler knows how to organize her material cleverly, she is a master of that. Supported where necessary by Gary Shepherd's soundscapes. After all these years of collaboration they make a close team.
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