The Old King

  • Dance
  • Show
The 2012 archive

Romeu Runa & Miguel Moreira

Lisboa - Gand / First time in France

The Old King © Christophe Raynaud de Lage / Festival d'Avignon


A man is smoking, alone, a book on his knees. This image by the Portuguese photographer Daniel Blaufucks fertilizes Romeu Runa's and Miguel Moreira's play, to which it also gives its title, The Old King. The interiority of this depressed person, wandering in his thoughts, is unfurled in a set that evokes the chaos of the beginning or even the end of the world. Reptilian in appearance, the dancer Romeu Runa attempts to extracts himself from this nightmare: he twists, then unfolds to recover his human posture. He surveys, crawling, an enormous and desolate space in which only a few wooden pallets and a plant remain. Assaulted by the elements, he rises and, in adversity, ends up standing upright. Because The Old King traces the path of a man who hangs on to his lost humanity, or in any event, one damaged by solitude. The role of a man shut up in his animality, from which he distances himself by rediscovering his memories and reformulating a vision, a future from them. Under his impetus, the landscape changes colour and consistency, like a magma that its only inhabitant sustains and shapes. In a sensual and defiant body-to-body confrontation with the earth an abstract picture is drawn in which Romeu Runa develops an expressionistic dance, incarnating and projects the torments like the hopes of this mad king who reconquers an empire. To write this poem in choreographic prose, in which the syntax is as important as the rhymes, Miguel Moreira encourages him to push his language as far as possible, to not hold back the dislocations and contortions that characterize his styles. Alain Platel plays the role of the exterior view, critical and welcoming, contributing his sense of rhythm and composition to the two Portuguese artists. Together, they offer us a powerful play in which matter and the king's body sketch an abstract tableau in perpetual motion. RB


conception Miguel Moreira, Romeu Runa
music Pedro Carneiro
lighting João Garcia Miguel
costumes Dino Alves
assistant to the direction Catarina Felix
artistic collaboration Alain Platel, Sandra Rosado, Jorge Rosado

with Romeu Runa



production les ballets C de la B
coproduction CNB/Teatro Camões (Lisboa), Teatro Cine em Torres Vedras, Centro Cultural Município do Cartaxo, Centro Cultural Vila Flor (Guimarães), Teatro Municipal de Faro et Útero Associação Cultural, La Rose des Vents National Stage of Lille Metropolis (Villeneuve d'Ascq), TorinoDanza
with the support of: Town of Gand, Province of the East Flanders and the Flemish authorities
and with: State Secretariat of Culture DGArtes (Portugal), Municipal Chamber of Almada and Espaço do Tempo (Montemor-o-Novo)
artist in residence: Uferstudios (Berlin), S3 les ballets C de la B (Gand)

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