In his piece, “The Green Table,” which the Paul Taylor Dance Company presented for one-night-only at the 92Y on April 6th, Kurt Jooss depicts a group of ten nasty gentlemen at a conference. They discuss the world situation, lightly jumping on and off the table, making presentational gestures, and offering mixed applause for one another's bright ideas. Dressed in black suits and disgusting, balding masks with distorted faces, the gentlemen are a farce of politicians and diplomats who seem to start wars for sport. Jooss created “The Green Table” in 1932 reflecting on the disastrous Great War as his native Germany tried to hold together their shaky Weimar Republic and brace themselves for the rise of fascism and conflict to come. At the end of their meeting, the gentlemen in “The Green Table” draw pistols and shoot in the air making a jolting BANG! created by real blanks. The lights shut off; a war begins.
Paul Taylor Dance Company in “The Green Table” by Kurt Jooss. Photograph by Richard Termine/92Y