The Village Voice

A Young German Choreographer Pursues the Pursuit of Happiness

by Deborah Jowitt


What would you like for your birthday if you could have anything you wanted? What would really make you happy? Jon Guymon—who starts off Johannes Wieland’s mordantly witty “newyou—I think you might be in deep denial” by announcing that it’s his birthday—finally gets his wish. Red-headed women (100 says the press release) in black dresses rise from the audience and mill around the stage, taking turns hanging on Guymon and making remarks to us like “I love being in control” and “Enjoy Jon’s company.” He, both onstage and in a projected video, appears thrilled.

But suddenly he’s holding up pair of shears and mechanically, without looking, severing the heads off the scattered red flowers that Isadora Wolfe and Kristin Osler rush to bring to him. Only bare stems remain to be stuck in some of the myriad water bottles that make up the decor. And when the scene is over, Guymon’s deflated. The women didn’t really love him, didn’t even say goodbye. Before long he’s saying that if he woke up every day as Jon Guymon, he’d just kill himself.