This is how we should look. This is how we should sound. No doubt, no remorse, no weakness. Instilled since youth, endured through manhood – the silent, predetermined pressures to be – more than, better than, never enough. We all cry for attention with the desire to be seen – if not in the arms of your mother then through the eyes of some other. Now wipe your tears, man up – don’t ever let them see you cry.
By holding onto the classic and outdated image that’s stimulated and perpetuated, the one dimensionality of what it means to be a ‘man’; ‘Mommy, Look!’ exposes where the borders and boundaries are set. The enduring show of strength and force that perpetuate this sometimes toxic cycle. Five cisgender men, in their arena of masculinity, trapped in the stereotype, slowly crumble and reveal their vulnerability. Embattled and worn down the other man’s shoulder baring comfort and solid ground.
‘When the men meet tenderly in the final scene, it becomes clear how little their khaki-colored costumes imply casual wear and more corsets. The choreography fascinates with its constant drive, the idiosyncratic gestures and rhythms, the unusual movement material and the emotionally intense alternating baths that are expressed on stage.’ – Basler Zeitung
‘In this testosterone bath, a quick grip on the manhood should not be missing. But the choreography is anything but clumsy. Because she cleverly develops the hidden desire for detachment from the muscle man games, which becomes noticeable when powerful stomping movements are replaced by short moments halfway to the point. – The men, with their tattered clothing and visible injuries, are wounded (and vulnerable) by the struggle with their role model. The choreography continues to demand breathtakingly powerful strength, but the movements are now more cautious and the injured machos develop a touching approach to allowing closeness, coming together, leaning on shoulders. Free from the burden of posing, everyone then leaves the stage on their own. – The really strong moments are offered by the first piece of this evening, which is definitely worth seeing and which was very well received by the audience.’ – Tanznetz
‘Imre and Marne van Opstal push the cliché of masculinity to the point of exhaustion. Fists are clenched and at one point the five dancers move their arms so fast that it looks as if they are pounding their chests. You show up and you want to be seen. But then other, quieter characters join in. Couples find each other like in a standard dance, one comfortingly hugs the other. Then again one hand grips the other’s head. The lines between an encouraging and a submissive gesture are fine. “Mom, look!” is a reflection on what masculinity can be – whereby the tough but vulnerable man is again a cliché. The choreography is not a loss of identity. After all, it is extremely dynamic and enormously powerful, as evidenced by Hebeguren. For example, one of the dancers lifts himself up on the shoulders of two others. You often almost forget to breathe.’ – Badische Zeitung
Choreography / Concept / Direction: Imre van Opstal & Marne van Opstal
Music: Rotem Frimer & Hen Yanni (new composition)
Set Design: Tom Visser, Imre van Opstal & Marne van Opstal
Costume Design: Imre van Opstal & Marne van Opstal
Light Design: Tom Visser
Performers: Francisco Patricio, Thomas Martino, Aleix Lacara, Matias Rocha Moura, Max Zachrisson
Duration: 32 minutes
Premiere: Ballett Theater Basel, 2023