Maybe Forever – Meg Stuart/Philipp Gehmacher
Posted by: Meg Peterson
A projection of dewy ferns, beds of moss, and a glowing pair of dead-heading dandelions loom over Maybe Forever’s carpeted landscape. Meg Stuart and Philipp Gehmacher lay parallel to one another, bathed in murky grayscale light and a clinky-clunky churning soundtrack. They softly lift from their respective middles, twitching upward; but find gravity a formidable force, pinning them back down. A natural association is time-lapse video, watching the jerky movement of something growing bigger over the course of months, as bones and blood push outward and expand into space. Stuart and Gehmacher’s recumbent chemistry is the glue of Maybe Forever. They roll over each other, attracting like two little magnets in your hand, only to push violently apart, repelling when the wrong ends meet: north to north, south to south. Their horizontal ballet trumps all other elements of the piece. It exhumes emotions that most bury and barricade behind the doors of teenage diaries. It conjures a myriad of associations, driving one to compose angst ridden haiku poetry on the back of a TBA program –
private sign-language
compress a year of breathing
channel dark matter
blood-filled puppets push
vision wreckage now on view
ill-fitting egos

Yes, it can be embarrassing.
But it can also feel good to listen to The Cure on a rainy Sunday, and replay the memory of someone’s heart beating. So, fuck it. Maybe Forever pushes picking the scab, and revels in the regret of vulnerability.
However, the piece is also punctuated with dissonant elements that leach much of the pheromonic juice from the duo’s movement across the carpet. There are discombobulated monologues, gloopy pop interludes from singer-songwriter Niko Hafkenscheid, perplexing costume changes, and deeply awkward waltzing. These elements tend to unravel the focus of the piece, and lead Maybe Forever down the path of a slow and uncomfortable dream. Riddled with confused innuendo and lost symbols, they dilute the mix. Take these cards off the table, and leave only the bodies of two dancers feeling for each other like they are following a trail through the forest. They may only meet for moments, intertwine like a candy cane, and then unceremoniously fall back to the leaf litter — but those brief moments were certainly lovely.