FUN! review

by Nina Branner, 15 Aug 2017

Lea Moro: FUN!, Fotocredit: German Palomeque
The most fun I had during FUN! was when a seemingly unending cascade of little, red noses came toppling out of dancer Micha Goldberg's mouth. Unflinching, he looked like a puking baby, who doesn’t yet have an adult's awareness that what he’s doing is comical. Here, the performance managed with a simple image to show the essence of what people often find funny: the involuntary, the grotesque, the plain silly. A display I otherwise found lacking in FUN!

“Fun is without purpose,” Lea Moro said during the artist talk following Sunday's performance of her piece. Amusement is when we let ourselves get lost in play and forget all about buzzwords like self-optimization. The ways in which we have fun are individual, with attempts to institutionalize and normalize fun - for instance with amusement parks – resulting in convulsive giddiness and feigned smiles. FUN! takes its visual and thematic inspiration from this universe. The social and subversive relevance of enjoyment is the supposed object of investigation here. Moro and her team of young dancers engaged in a rather unoriginal play with clichés of what society has decided is “fun”. There were hand puppets, magic tricks and slapstick humor. Cheesy 90’s synthesizers and community singing. I would have wished that the enthusiastic dancers would have channeled their energy into exploring an even more extreme satire of the ridiculous aspects of modern entertainment culture, a more pointed satire of this world’s characters.

What worked very well was the visual expression of FUN!: the clean and recognizable scenography, inspired by amusement park rides like “Lollipop Lagoon”, “Lazer Satelite” and “Moon Rocket”, and the choreographical interpretation of this landscape. Together with the electronic soundscape by sound artist Jana Sotzko, it created a curious, spacious atmosphere. I imagined a group of nutty fun park employees goofing off after closing time.

So is FUN! fun? No. But then again, I don’t necessarily think it was Moro’s intention to entertain. Like she said during the artist talk, she likes to annoy her audience – to make them ask: “Is she serious about that or not?” In that light, the performance definitely succeeded.
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The Bloggers

Lily Kelting Born 1986, Stage editor, Exberliner magazine. Works internationally as a freelance dramaturg, writer, and editor. She holds a Ph.D. in Theatre from the University of California, San Diego. Postdoc at the Freie Universität, Berlin. Originally from New York City, she lives in Berlin.

Nina Branner is a freelance cultural journalist from Denmark, based in Berlin. She has studied at the University of Copenhagen, Berlin University of the Arts and at Copenhagens Academy for Music, Dance and Performance with awarded choreographer Kasper Ravnhøj. She writes about theater, performance and music for publications like Weekendavisen and Gaffa. Writing for Exberliner since March 2016.