If you consult the "Carte de Tendre", you will recognise that the shape of Tendre resembles that of France. Three large rivers run through the landscape like blood vessels. This is divided into two parts by the centre river. With a little imagination, you can recognise the heart organ with its right and left ventricles. To the north is the "Dangerous Sea" (La Mer Dangereuse) with its challenging cliffs. Behind it lie the "Unknown Regions" (Terres Inconnues). These areas promise the greatest pleasure, but belong neither to the Land of Tendre nor to what we understand by "friendship" in the narrower sense. In the west, the "Sea of Enmity" (La Mer d'Inimitié) boils. It feeds on the darkest regions of hatred. What is worrying is that hatred is closer to friendship than we would like. Anyone who has lost a friend in the aforementioned sea will be able to confirm this.

On closer inspection, the map shows you the capsizing ship of friendship being engulfed by the waves as a warning sign. To the east of Tendre lies the "Lake of Indifference" (Le Lac d'Indifférence). Every hope, every expectation, every last attempt at a friendly rapprochement has been sunk in these waters. You can recognise the capitals of Tendre by the fact that they are built on the country's three major rivers. On the one hand, they are the destination of every journey to Tendre. Secondly, the capitals are all equipped with bridges that you can use to reach the other areas of Tendre. It is up to you how long you want to stay in the various places.

You cannot choose the starting point of the whole endeavour. This is located in the far south and is marked at the bottom of the map. It is the town called "New Friendship" (Nouvelle Amitié). This is where you set off from. And this is where the journey to our hearts begins. The game, or the test, now consists of us staying on the high plateau in the south and watching you make the journey. Far be it from us to tell you which path you should choose. You are entirely on your own. In Tendre, the gallant law of delicacy prevails. The functioning of friendship in our circle depends fundamentally on this. We will see whether and how you come to terms with it. We will draw our conclusions from your behaviour and then decide whether you are capable of gallantry and worthy of our friendship.

Auszug aus dem Artikel “Galante Freundschaft” im Programmheft zum Ballett “Le Parc” von Angelin Preljocaj

Premiere beim Bayerischen Staatsballett im Nationaltheater München am 25. November 2023

Text: © Bayerisches Staatsballett / Serge Honegger

Fotos: © Bayerisches Staatsballett / Carlos Quezada

Graphisch aufbereitete Ausschnitte der “Carte de Tendre”: Bureau Borsche