Betroffenheit review – from trauma, a savage beauty

Sadler’s Wells, London
Crystal Pite fashions unflinching art from real-life tragedy in this inspiring dance-theatre hybrid

The premise for Crystal Pite and Jonathon Young’s Betroffenheit stops you in your tracks. In 2009 Young, an actor and playwright, lost his daughter, nephew and niece in a fire. Betroffenheit – the word describes the shocked state which follows profound trauma – is his response to the tragedy, elaborated and choreographed by Crystal Pite.

If the idea of transmuting such an event into theatre seems questionable, and quite possibly appalling, the result dispels all doubts. Betroffenheit does two supremely important things. It reminds us that at its best, theatre has a profound social function. That it’s a shared act in which human nature, for better or worse, is laid bare. And it reminds us that art is more than a sideshow. That when reason and intellect falter, broken by the random cruelty of fate, art can offer a response.

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Source: Guardian Dance News

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