Don Juan

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Don Juan’s allegorical value is often reduced to the seduction of women in art, science and entertainment. Molière’s protagonist is significantly more complex. Throughout the story, Don Juan is accompanied by his superstitious servant Sganarelle, whose ethical stance engages the master in intellectual debates that uncover further facets of the archetype: seduction is accompanied by pseudo-altruism, cynicism, indulgence and insatiability. At the same time, Don Juan is convinced that he is a free spirit who has escaped the shackles of social and religious norms. Not surprisingly for the time of its premiere, when absolutism and a ruthless spiritual doctrine guarded social norms, Don Juan’s attributes were equated with blasphemy. Don Juan is portrayed not only as a woman seducer, but also as a spiritual seducer and hypocrite, when he tries to persuade a pious beggar to blaspheme and later feigns a spiritual rebirth. However, these peculiarities of the late 17th century do not prevent the epoch-spanning social significance of a timeless character. Even today, Don Juan and his servant Sganarelle can be seen as representatives of Kierkegaard’s colliding aesthetic and ethical possibilities of existence. Especially today, the tandem of Don Juan and Sganarelle is worth considering as an allegory of appearance and being. Is our “being” possibly a servant of our “appearance”?

In our staging, we turned to two striking impulses of today’s Donjuanism, the appetite for pleasure and the related striving for the multiplication of happiness. The possibilities for self-portrayal that are available to us today largely blur the boundaries between pleasure and happiness. We strive to conserve, multiply, display and enjoy every moment that brings us happiness, rather than simply experiencing it. But can more enjoyment really make us happier? The Austrian writer Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach warned that self-indulgence destroys everything, but notably happiness and that one has to share one’s happiness in order to be able to multiply it. Today we seem far from these aphorisms. We don’t strive for happiness, but to multiply happiness without actually having to share it. The only sharing is limited to our conveyor belt of pleasure on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube or Facebook. We turn into sganarelles who serve a donjuanist appearance and who lament when the “Statue of the Commendatore” as a metaphor of the times threatens to drag this appearance down into oblivion. Our Don Juan is an amusing demonstration of how our everyday life is controlled by a widespread misconception that happiness must be multiplied in order to enjoy it.

Music: W. A. Mozart
Choreography: Volha Kastsel

Natalia Matsak, Sergii Kryvokon, Oleksii Busko, Artem Shoshyn, Ekaterina Zynoveva Provalinskaya, Victoria Tvardovskaya, Susanne Wessel, Sofia Binetti, Carine Baccega, Laura Guessan, Alice Brunner

With the financial support of:
  • Ministry of Culture, Luxembourg
  • CAPE Ettelbruck
  • DanceXperience asbl