— Trailer below —

A fear becomes a fact. Your figure begins to melt and concave, as profound sorrow emits through your posture. You are overcome with indescribable feelings, rage, misery. The grief unapologetically tears the joy out of your present existence. You realize then that the information delivered has the capability to destroy you.

There is something feral about grief. A subversive emotion that we have been trained to suppress. Can it be thrown out the window? What has left us lost, sunken, incomplete? We attempt to observe grief as a companion in our life. One that appears on their own terms. How can we re-examine grief as a force of power? How does it inform our bodies and relationships to others?

HIGH TIDE explores these questions through imagery, sound and choreography.

At first sight, an image of a solar system; performers slowly rotate through space. The unintelligible situation demands you to move on. Movement ripples through the body while light makes flickering impressions on the audience’s senses. A candle fighting for its existence to remain inflamed, until someone turns the switch off and you realize it’s electronic. A short circuit.

Clothespins are attached to all appendages of the body while faces begin to distort; it becomes unclear who is clenching whom. A performer places themselves downstage, with their back to the audience on all fours. She uses a flood light that shines through her legs onto the audience. Shoes fall from the roof in an absurd world upside down. The dancers’ clothes are waterproof to shield them from rough and icy conditions.

Recurring symbols of water are placed throughout the work. The constant lull of an ocean tide, waves peaking and then collapsing, sending immense weight onto the ocean floor. The high pressure from grief allows for a reminder: that all things in life are impermanent. What rises, must also fall; only to repeat itself once again.

The soundscape creates a dense atmosphere with underlying tones of darkness and brutality. Spurts of energy accompany the oscillation of movements, in a mixture of violence and liquidity. The beats threaten a disruption, as a monster admires the unsettledness from afar.

In total, HIGH TIDE questions high pressure, the processing of traumatic events and the possibility to greet rage with open arms. The beauty and strategy of letting things go, exquisitely reminding us that we are alive.



Concept, Choreography, Performance: Pauline Payen

Artistic companions:

Performance: Dorota Michalak, Lyllie Rouvière

Sound: Charlie Aubry a.k.a Sacrifice Seul

Lights: Hanna Kritten Tangsoo

Sound operator: FiFi

Premiered at Flutgraben Projektraum Berlin, February 2022

This work has been made possible thanks to Flutgraben Performances Residencies and the kind support of Martine Bartholini

Listen here to a special interview on the piece by Apricot Production