Jean-Guillaume Weis carries the bulk of the live performance of “Europe – My Heart Will Be Broken and Eaten”
This weekend marked the world premiere of “Europe – My Heart Will Be Broken and Eaten”, in which German director Armin Petras takes on a text by Romanian author, Salat Lehel.
The piece, inspired by Jean Cocteau’s “La Voix Humaine”, incorporates a three-screen instalation with film, predominantly showing a young Eastern woman (played by Maria Tamoiaga) making a series of phone calls. She is speaking to her male lover (played by Jean-Guillaume Weis)—mainly expressing her frustrations as she tries to become an actor, not to mention the complication at their long-distance relationship, given he lives in Western Europe, is married and a father.
The audience, seated on bean bags, simultaneously witnesses Weis’ character on a small stage before the three screens as he evolves... devolves. Despite the judgment the audience could pass on the man for the nature of his relationship with the young eastern European, they can simultaneously relate to him--he is physically closer (literally crawling around the audience at some points), but he also has the privilege of speaking directly to the audience about, among other things, his fortunate western European lifestyle.
The role is exposing for Weis, and not just physically: he carries the bulk of the live performance, including one scene where he engages unsuspecting audience members to dance on stage. Nevertheless, his character’s appearance was, at times, slightly distracting, only because there were moments where the couple's dialogue clashed with a variety of other visuals. Some signposts might have helped better guide viewers.
Questioning modern Europe
The piece also incorporates iconic footage of eastern European history, from a variety of uprisings and protests, to loops of former prime minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko, and also the occasional statistic flashing on screen. The loops in some instances felt like a form of dancing, a clever technique for the piece, and some of the highlights are in the last half of the performance, which explores more folkloric elements.
Despite some of the slight hiccups of the opening performance of what is a world premiere, the piece is real food for thought--not only for the male-female relationship at its core, but also as it forces viewers to question modern Europe on a range of issues, from climate to consumption to the region’s homogeneity, or lack thereof--and its timing could not have been better.
Catch the performance
There are four more evenings to catch the performance: 30-31 January, or 1-2 February at 8pm at the TNL.
For tickets or more information, visit: www.tnl.lu