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The Vase


In The Vase, OFEN Co-Arts Platform continues its work into symbolism and poetry of the body. Stripping away dance vocabulary and bringing to the surface the exquisite tensions of what is both beautiful in nature and horrendous at the same time.

The Vase (60mins approx.) is based on the play “Purgatorio” by Ariel Dorfman (2008) . The characters Medea and Jason, are situated in Purgatory, awaiting their separate fates for the afterlife. Within their interactions with each other and their surroundings, extremes appear like empathy and destruction, hate and love, beauty and ugliness, and emptiness and overwhelming fullness.

Alternating between the fiction of the story and the reality of the actual theatre itself, the dancers operate the lighting and the sound from a desk centre-stage, providing their own scenography and revealing the illusion behind the theatrical representation.


“The final phrase [of the performance] provides the total picture. What makes this performance even more special is that the dancers themselves were responsible for light and sound.”

– Margot Croubels


The Vase came about after Gala studied Medea to play in a work by Wim Vandekeybus.  Some time later, OFEN took on the ancient work of Greek mythology by Euripides while overlaying it with a more recent theatrical play “Purgatorio” by Ariel Dorfman (2008) which presents Medea and Jason’s quest for retribution in the afterlife. As a third reference OFEN explored their own questions about the topic, with their personal experiences and perspectives on revenge, retribution and forgiveness to bring a three dimensionality to the subject matter. The piece is staged with the performers controlling the lighting and sound onstage, a visual cue to emphasis the illusion of reality in theatre as well as the presence of reality in fiction.


Performers: Michael Carter, Gala Moody

Created by: Michael Carter, Gala Moody (Cie.OFEN)

Composer: Sascha Budimski

Lighting design: Michael Carter

Rehearsal assistance: Iker Arrue

Management: Cie.OFEN


The Vase premiered 3rd October 2015 at Ulti’Mates Festival – Schouwburg Kortrijk 

The Vase was developed during residencies with:

  • Desthelheide Dworp,
  • Centro Danza Canal Madrid,
  • Compañía Nacional de Danza Spain,
  • Ultima Vez – Wim Vandekeybus Belgium,
  • Leigh Warren & Dancers Adelaide and
  • RITCS Brussels.

Cie.OFEN would also like to thank the generous support of Jackstädt Stiftung, Kulturbüro Wuppertal, and die börse – wuppertal.


20 June 2015 (preview)
RITCS – Brussels, Belgium

03 October 2015 (premiere)
Ulti’Mates Festival – Schouwburg Kortrijk, Belgium 

02 June 2017
die börse, Wuppertal, Germany

22 October 2017
Move! Festival – Fabrik Heeder, Krefeld, Germany



They dance separately and yet together. A constant struggle for closeness and distance, affection and disgust follows. Cie.Ofen dances with “The Vase” a dancer interpretation of Ariel Dorfman’s play “Purgatorio”, which in turn is an adaptation of Euripides’ “Medea”.

Sometimes the viewer sees the dancers as Medea and Jason and sometimes as themselves, busy with the complex technique of light and sound. It has not only used  the material of Greek mythology as a reference; the complex narrative of “The Vase” also consists of the biographical history that connects the dancers and their lives, from the great personalities of two artists who have been dancing together for over twelve years.

By Isabel Mankas-Fuest, Reinische Post, 24 October 2017

This evening the two have worked sensationally on the ambivalence of each gesture. Two star dancers. She worked with the wild fellows of the dance scene: Romeo Castellucci, Ivo Dimchev and Wim Vandekeybus. He has been with the Tanztheater Wuppertal since 2014.  Having the charisma of a sensitive melancholic, he us intrinsically a wonderful counterpart to the rigorous action women Moody, this makes their still young company “Cie. OFEN“ absolutely attractive.

By Nicole Strecker, (translated by Veronica Posth)

See these reviews in full and others here


Photo by Francesca d’Ath