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On The Road_Echoes_Jamie Lee-Stanislav Dobák: DREAMS by Kristóf Farkas

Spaces in the need of being enclosed by each other

    Dreams created by Jamie Lee and Stanislav Dobák „is an ongoing installation of dance films and photography based on our dreams”, which contains a performance-like dance étude. Among the several venues of the KioSK Festival, it took place in the basement of the building Elektrárne, where you just go from room to room, one by one, and in each you can watch a dance film “based on our dreams” and hell yeah, they're these kind of material! 

photo: Elena Aya Bountouraki
   The choreographies are so simple (I mean they don't want to be more than what the action needs), each of them are in perfect harmony with the feeling and visualization of their material. I can't say that every dream is archetypal, but for me all of them are familiar. I have dreamt at least once all of them, and each time I woke up in a sheen of sweat. Besides the two multitalented creators, the music is James Brown's and Jozef Vlk's merit and for sure their melodies will echo in your bones long after. The dancers, Jamie Lee, Daisy Phillips, Victoria Perez, Anuschka Von Oppen, Janet Novas and Passerelle dancers are all great, just like the way they are acting: through their body. Most of the choreographies are about the bearing of something, in which case the action is first and the emotions come just after. The movement is the source of them, they don't portray. To watch the dancers lost in their fears, solitude, desperation, or watch them being tangled and buck against each other by some unknown force – is the feeling of the voyeur. But, this review doesn't want to give a deep analysis of the dance films and the photography, but is rather about how they can become dream-like and intangible in a construction where one by one they are touchable. I want to emphasize the necessity of the chosen space, because of this we become the performers and not the artists – they are guides of this very unique mind trip.
    In a case when the chosen subject is about dreams, the fact that we have to go under to see – it –, the act of watching is not a primal sensation, but an affirmative feat in the name of what is sensible. So if subconscious could be an exact place, the basement would be a great match. You breathe in humid air smelling like dump and feel the moistness, perspired by musty-fusty walls, entering your skin. The only light sources here are some light bulbs and the film material screened by the projector through the air, spreading on the walls – or on the floor (just like a cube, which has sides). Beside the claustrophobic and rotting feeling of the space (which is not for emphasizing the exhibited material), the origin of the emerging atmosphere are the films and photos. They have lost their own materiality by being screened and exposed, and found it again in/on the dead material of the wall. This kind of alteration turns the pictures into something physically sensible, they become (the part of) the walls – which walls are now coming alive, because they are filled with the fluidity of the film. This is the already mentioned rawness, which is so peculiar in creating the atmosphere.
    The different sensations here are not parallel, but invigorated by completion. In theatre, the role of the eye is obvious, just as of the ear, but to be 'touched' by what is seen or heard, it is the personification of what is already vivid on stage. Otherwise, the circumstances of being ‘under’, to be enclosed in a space which is full of impulses reminding us at the 'behavior' of our dreams, the situation is intensified. Through evaporation, perspiration, horripilation and other physical and psychosomatic effects caused by the influence of the motion picture – or rather motion wall – and the space, I become the part of the exhibition. So, we are touched physically by sensing ourselves and the personification trends towards us. In one word, I reassert the fact that I am personified by myself. And in 'Dreams' I'm standing on that certain stage – in the subconscious level, being watched by my conscious self. So we can say that we watch and examine ourselves in the same time too. But is it conscious?
    No, it is not, in my opinion. It takes time to get used to the circumstances and any constant stimulus. And after it happens, the realization of an altered state is not prompt. Under the conditions of the basement and by being a part of the installation, the mind doesn't sense immediately the fact of the sleepless dream. It is like falling asleep: we don't know when it happens. The next and last step in this mind trip is the dance étude. We enter a murky room wrapped in mysterious and dense fog, where a guy (Stanislav Dobák) is hanging from the ceiling, just like an alpinist. He slowly starts to descend. And from now I won't give a detailed story of what was happening on the stage, I just evoke some fragments, e.g. that he has a torch in this foggy darkness.
    Just like in a labyrinth, he is roaming the space and suddenly finds himself face to face with a creature (Jamie Lee, wearing a furry mask) and they start to dance. They use the same movements, sometimes they wrestle and orbit near each other but these actions are more about getting to grips with the other. At a point, they sit down and start to drink water. There is a bottle and a fish tank on the table. The guy always wants to drink from the latter, but he is always blocked by the creature, who after a while takes little fishes (not real) out of its(/her) mouth and puts them into the water of the tank, what the guy still wants to drink up, but the creature tries to take it away. Finally, with the tank under his arm, he goes to a little room with a big window on its side – so we can see what's happening inside. He puts the tank on the table. He watches it. He comes out and locks the door. I feel giddy. Applause.
    Briefly, the fish tank is locked into a little room in a room, where the performance takes place, which belongs to the basement. But, the act of descending is metaphorical, not just physical, i.e. this is the way from the conscious into the subconscious – from reality into the dream. So these 'enclosings' are steps to reach something much deeper. And while me, the conscious self is watching the dive into the subconscious, which submerges it, I realize that I am part of this dream – despite my own sleeplessness. All of these spaces are enclosed by each other, but everything I see, happens in me. I'm the voyeur of someone else's dream, but with the great difference that I'm enclosed in it too.
Kristóf  Farkas – member of KÖM by L1 Association
KioSK 2015 New Slovakian Theatre and Dance Festival, Stanica Žilina - Záriečie, 23-26.07.2015


On The Road_Echoes_ Debris Company: CLEAR by Zita Sándor

Speak without tongue

During the KioSK – Festival of new Slovak theatre and dance in 2015, I was lucky to experience and see that sometimes movements and dance, the “body language” can express ideas and connections in a more understandable (and maybe more complex) way than any spoken language.

photo: Lucia Kotrhová
I have really clear and strong memories about the street performance Othello is Black performed by Divadlo koňa a motora – however I do not speak or understand at all Czech or Slovakian language. I’ve heard the names of the protagonists from the Shakespeare drama, and it was really obvious that I’ve seen a performance which treated the text pretty freely. The scenes were strongly stylized, the characters and the actors’ gestures were energetic and clean-cut, using the toolbar of commedia dell’arte. They were surely interesting and entertaining, numerous passers-by stopped to watch the performers. In the middle of the show a sudden rainstorm arrived to the Mariánska square, but this did not bother the actors: they continued their work, later on moved next to cloisters where the populous audience was watching them. I consider that their success depended a lot on their body language, on their lively presence, their energetic gestures. I stayed there in order to watch their movements, their jumps and punches; however I did not understand the story at all.
On the same day, I’ve seen something quite similar, but a different genre work in Stanica. Debris Company’s Clear was an English-friendly monodrama with three performers. René is a man, who is deeply interested in the big questions of life: What is existence? What is real and what is illusion? What is time? He tries to build a line between perception and thoughts: this line is drawn on the floor of the theatre. Since he is thinking mostly in dichotomies, his bipolar doubts and scruples – according to the text, Clear and Distinct – are represented by Clara and Distincta, two dancers. René is occupied with memories of a woman who is now in a hospital – therefore the dancers have some kind of connection to that person as well.
The genre designation of the work is existential mystery – which is really true, the whole performance-long monologue of René does not make things clear. It evokes Descartes, Shakespeare, the theme of theatre itself, but does not lead to any place or exact conclusion. Marián Prevendarčík surely worked a lot with the enormous and philosophical text, his concentration and endurance is extremely intense, it is much to be regretted that he was only declaiming, sitting and taking some steps in a dark, elegant velvet suit.
The two dancers, Stanislava Vlčeková and Nikoleta Rafaelisová are showing us a very creditable performance. Their technique is excellent, they are moving in a mirror position for a very long time with true ease. Their movements are precise and well timed, the composition and the decomposition of the structures are accomplished with breezyness. Their gestures and the construction of their movements evoke the essence of the text, or even more: the time, the infinite, the continuous restart, the memories and the questions of body, identity, soul (choreography: Stanislava Vlčeková). The glass of the “mirror” is the white line on the floor, the two sides sometimes disconnect for a while, at one point the dancers’ legs and arms gently cross the line, they whisper something to each other and later they suddenly change sides. The playfulness can be perceived in other points as well: Clara and Distincta play a coffee drinking episode, with two halved coffee cups – excellent moment, it connects among others the story of Alice in Wonderland to the show.
The duo is really eye-catching: the two women have the same height, they are wearing similar, lightly striped white clothes, they have the same long red hair. Their facial expressions are also similar, it is hard to make any distinction between them. The performance is precisely and sensibly arranged, the stage design and the lights are wisely set. The drawing on the floor, the diagonal placement and the smoke are creating a mysterious ambience, we have the impression that even the wind, the movements of air are also planned. Ján Ptačin’s and Jozef Vlk’s stage and light work become the “fourth performer” of the show, the smoke and the steady hand guided lights are acting like an invisible force which is watching, enclosing and guiding everything – bodies, thoughts and its representations – from the background. The selected music records – disco, noise and roar of machines, piano pieces, patter of rain – and the silences also contribute to the framing of the atmosphere and correspond to the scenes.
The text, the verbal part (René) and the physicality (the two dancers) are separated. The monologue of René was projected in English on the wall. I could read it, I’ve been listening to it, but the long text did not have an effect on me – however it is an important basic material of the show. Nevertheless, the physical signs and representations, the movements and the stage setting were expressive enough. Clear is an example of a physical theatre in which the physicality, bodies in movement became palpably stronger and overpowered the spoken words.
Zita Sándor – member of KÖM by L1 Association
KioSK 2015 New Slovakian Theatre and Dance Festival, Stanica Žilina - Záriečie, 23-26.07.2015

On The Road_Echoes_Jamie Lee-Stanislav Dobák: DREAMS by Mónika Kunstár

Dreams locked in the mind

Films are rolling in the rooms behind iron bars opening up from the narrow basement corridor. On the films we see episodes, separate worlds, just like dreams locked into rooms. As if every door would allow us to see behind closed eyes and peep into the hidden corners of the mind.
Humid air, dripping water; the sound waves coming from the rooms, mixing in the air are already causing an altered state of consciousness. The space with its gloomy, repressed energies provides a perfect atmosphere for the suggestive photos and films radiating power and tension.
On the photos we see hands, legs, bodies twisted, looks, ghostly images, as if they were mosaic pieces of dreams, ones we may still remember after waking up. The image of the forest stays in our minds, as well as the feeling left behind by the touch of wet leaves.
The motion pictures provide instant information; still they evoke an associative mood. A bit like taking us into our own nightmares, where we fall, rise, and drop on the ground again; possibly chased by someone or something, who knows. There is a naked female body enclosed into a cocoon on a tree, as if being in a larval stage, exploring the boundaries of its viscous, gooey prison walls with her movement.

photo: Elena Aya Bountouraki

 The firm borders of the mind almost seem to crush under the delusion, when the film is projected on the floor and the image moves out into the space. The female body lying on the moistly glittering floor seems to break free from the plane of her imagination, desperately striving to come to the surface. While her body is not restricted by limitations and her movement is free, there is no release from the state of being trapped in the mind.
It is a blast how the installation warms up, prepares and tunes the audience into the performance; on the other hand it is a huge challenge to maintain or even boost this depressive, intense, dream-like ambient. Accordingly, what else could come next, but confinement? We are guided into a seemingly small room, but we cannot really feel its walls and limits due to the dense fog. The audience’s crowded bodies locked into a hardly perceptible space are similar to thoughts in the mind. When the lights are turned off, we get lost in the foggy haze of our imagination, and left alone in the dark for a long moment.
The man, hanging from a ‘climbing’ rope, leads his view with the light of his torch, directing the attention to the inside. The strobe light, the images, the sight of the scary, witch-masked girl leads us to an imaginary space, where tension is as thick and impermeable as the fog in the room. They are moving without harsh interactions, playing with the association of images inside the closed space of their imagination, moving in the fog just like the fishes swimming in the bowl.
Closed rooms, living spaces are put into each other like a smaller box into a bigger one, then into a bigger one, and so on. The first closed space is the fish bowl with the fishes; the second is the adjacent room with its display window, where the fish bowl is put in front of us; the third is the illuminated space, which the dancers use; the fourth space is the room, where we, audience members are standing in a crowd, watching the performance. The spaces and imaginary landscapes are overlapping and infiltrating each other, since every spectator’s mind is another closed space, where everything he or she sees, hears, feels and imagines is regenerated again.
The actions and the bodies – in themselves or in an interaction with the other body – flow into each other just like that as well; forming something solid, something whole, but still palpable: dreams or images locked in our minds, the limits of which we cannot perceive, just as the boundaries of the haze-filled room remained hidden for our senses.

Mónika Kunstár – member of KÖM by L1 Association
KioSK 2015 New Slovakian Theatre and Dance Festival, Stanica Žilina - Záriečie, 23-26.07.2015

Elmékbe zárt álmok
Stano Dobák, Jamie Lee: Dreams

Az alagsor szűk folyosójáról nyíló vasajtós helyiségekben pörög a film. Fotókon és mozgóképeken epizódok, külön világok, mint a szobákba zárt álmok. Mintha minden egyes ajtónyitás betekintést engedne a csukott szemek mögé, hogy bekukucskálhassunk, mi zajlik az elme rejtett szegleteiben.
Nyirkos levegő, csorgó víz; a helyiségekből kiszabaduló, egymással elkeveredő hanghullámok érzékeinkre hatva már önmagában is egyfajta módosult tudatállapotot idéznek elő. A helyszín a nyomasztó és visszafojtott energiákkal tökéletes atmoszférát teremt a szuggesztív, erőt és feszültséget sugárzó képeknek és mozgóképeknek.
Fotókon kezek, lábak, ívbe csavarodó testek, tekintetek, szellemképek, mintha az álmok egy-egy kiragadott mozaik darabkái lennének, amelyre ébredés után talán még emlékezni fogunk. Az erdő képe még ott marad képzeletünkben, és az érzet is, amit a nyirkos avar tapintása hagyott lenyomatul.
A mozgóképek készen tálalt információk ugyan, de mégis asszociatív hangulatot idéznek elő. Kicsit mintha a saját rémálmaidba vinnének, amelyben esel, kelsz, a földön találod magad; üldöznek vagy sem, ki tudja. A fán egy meztelen test gubóba zárva, mint egy lárvaállapotban leledzve, mozgásával keresi képlékeny, nyúlós falú börtönének határait.
Az elme szilárd falai érzéki csalódás útján szinte megdőlni látszanak, amikor a filmet a padlóra vetítik, és kilép a térbe a kép. A nyirkosan csillogó padlóburkolaton fekvő női test kitörni látszik képzelete síkjából, szenvedve törekszik felfelé. Testét nem szorítják ugyan korlátok közé, mozgása szabad, de az elmébe zárt állapot síkjából számára nincs szabadulás.
Telitalálat, ahogyan az installáció bemelegít, előkészít, ráhangol az előadásra, és egyben nagy feladat, hogy a nyomasztó, feszült álomszerűség megmaradjon, sőt fokozódjon. Ennek megfelelően mi más következhetne, mint a bezártság. Egy szűknek tűnő helyiségbe terelnek minket, amelynek a sűrű füsttől nem érzékelhetjük tisztán a méreteit, határait. A nézői testek egymás mellett, egy nehezen érzékelhető térbe zárva olyanok, mint az elmében a gondolatok. Amikor leoltják a villanyt, képzeletünk ködös homályába veszünk, és egy hosszú pillanatra magunkra maradunk a sötétben.
Egy férfi egy „hegymászó” kötélen lógva, elemlámpája fényével vezeti a tekintetet, a figyelmet befelé irányítja. A stroboszkóp fénye, a képi világ, az ijesztő álarcos, boszorkány maszkos lány látványa egy olyan képzeleti síkra terel, amelyben harapni lehet a feszültséget, akárcsak itt a füstöt. Túlságosan heves interakcióktól mentesen, képi asszociációkkal játszva mozognak képzeletük zárt világában, a füstben, ahogyan a halak úszkálnak az akváriumban.
Zárt terek, életterek rakódnak egymásba, mint egy kisebb doboz egy nagyobba, majd az egy még nagyobba, és így tovább. Első zárt tér az akvárium, benne a halakkal; második zárt tér a szomszéd kirakat ablakú helyiség, ahova átteszik elénk, nézők elé az akváriumot; harmadik zárt tér a bevilágított, táncosok által használt területe a szobának; negyedik zárt tér a helyiség, ahol mi nézők, bezsúfolódva figyeljük az eseményeket. Így folynak egymásba az életterek és a képzeleti síkok, hiszen minden egyes néző elméje egy újabb zárt tér, ahol újrateremtődik minden, amit lát, hall, érez és elképzel.
Ugyanígy folynak egymásba, és válnak valami képlékeny egésszé a történések, testek önmagukban vagy a másik testtel interakcióban. Álmok vagy képzetek az elménkbe zárva, amelynek határait éppúgy nem ismerhetjük, mint ahogyan a füsttel teli szoba határvonalai is rejtve maradtak érzékeink számára.

 Kunstár Mónika – KÖM by L1 Egyesület
KioSK 2015 New Slovakian Theatre and Dance Festival, Stanica Žilina - Záriečie, 23-26.07.2015


On The Road_Echoes_Pominutel’né divadlo: 10 000. GOSPEL FOR ROSES by Orsolya Bálint

Death as self-expression

I watched the heavily text-based performance 10 000. Gospel for Roses at KioSk Festival, in Stanica, Žilina without understanding a word in Slovak. Still I don’t want to use that as an excuse, because by not being focused on the text, I could concentrate more on the four outstanding actresses: Mária Danadová, Dominika Doniga, Lenka Luptáková and Jana Oľhová.
I directed my senses on their presence, mimics, tones and costumes, and since the performance was sparse in action, even their tiniest moves gained significance. However, I was still longing for a better understanding, which followed when I re-read the English transcript of the performance and during the open discussion with dramaturge/director/costume designer Maroš Rovňák and two of the actresses. There was one word I’ve indeed learned by hearing it many times, as a constructive (creative?) motif: smrt, meaning death.
It was an impressive entree, when Jana Oľhová appeared on stage in a white gown embellished with strong red symbols (a huge drop of blood over her lap and a red cross over her chest, like a bull’s eye), a headband of red roses and black peacock feathers, slightly resembling the eccentric Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. She had the imposing aura of a monarch, but deeply withheld sadness seeped from her. Impersonating Elizabeth I of England, whose mother, Anne Boleyn was executed two years after giving birth to her, she told a childhood memory of envisioning herself being in the safety of the womb of her deceased mother out of fear from death, because her life was under constant threat. A beautiful and ambivalent metaphor: it condenses the childlike idea of death, the longing for the lost mother and for the safeness she never experienced; the urge growing even stronger than her own fear from dying.
Speaking into one of the microphones on stage, the amplification of her voice became an emphasis of the act of self-expression, like she was speaking out – if she could not tell this to anyone, she will tell it to everyone. We may be compassionate with the child she was, and see her as a brave survivor, and later as a victorious ruler and a generous patron of arts, who contributed to the flourishing of English drama, but Elizabeth I was also responsible for the execution of many, among others her rival, Mary, Queen of Scots.
After her exit, Lenka Luptáková entered the stage, playing an art historian (in black dress and gloves, with red warpaint on her forehead, as if marked by a mysterious force or entity) giving a lecture on Manet’s series of paintings The Execution of Emperor Maximilian.
There is a sophisticated shift each time the protagonist changes; this time from one tragedy-stricken house of monarchs (the Tudors) to another (the Habsburgs), and from a personal metaphorical approach of death to the metaphorical approach of death by art. Death already appears here in the political context as well, since the death of a monarch is never solely personal matter.

photo: Jan Chmelnik

 Previously, the art historian mentioned Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass and Olympia, two paintings which caused outrage for their naturalism, or frivolity, in the public eye. This became meaningful information later, when we focused more on the inexplicable, or rather double standards of society towards what is deemed scandalous and what remains blissfully ignored – or what is considered private and what is a political/public issue.
The Execution series depicts the very moment, in which the shots were fired by the hit squad, whilst the emperor and his generals are still standing straight, seemingly impassively awaiting their inevitable death. Just like in Elizabeth’s vision of the womb, death only appears here in a metaphorical space created in the spectator’s minds. Since time is frozen by the static nature of the painting, we can linger in this in-between of dimensions of being and not-being, the great mystery of death – the transition into finiteness, or another quality of existence; we don’t know for sure until we experience it for ourselves.
In spite of its surreal, incomprehensible nature, death is in fact an ever-present reality in our minds, but most of the time it is repressed into the unconscious, since “it would be impossible to live in constant conscious awareness of death” (Becker, 1973). But in moments like when we are watching the painting, we become aware of the fact of death, and we begin to wonder about the nature of death. Quite immediately we think about our own death, or the death of our loved ones, since these are the most sensitizing prospects of death, and the subject shifts from general (and trivial) to personal again.
This is the delicate thread leading us to the next scene (besides that the virtual space of the plot is still in Mexico, the story being continued in Ciudad Juárez, the city named after Benito Juárez, who was reinstated as president after Maximilian’s death). Maja Danadová played a Mexican mother (also in black and with red paint on her forehead, which seemed rather like a curse, not like blood over her head), who’s daughter was abducted and murdered. I wished I understood her detailed reminiscence of her daughter’s disappearance – on the other hand, being a mother, I was grateful that I didn’t have to face the horrific details, as I could tell from the intense attention and almost paralyzed-by-dread postures of other audience members. Amplifying her voice with the microphone symbolised in her case not solely her desire to be heard, but it was also a warning to us that she should be listened to.
After her exit, the art historian appeared again to talk about the next Execution painting, which was a sobering change, like a Brechtian V-Effekt, and we shifted from the personal and factual experience of death back to theoretical and abstract again. Not entirely though, because she showed us the historical photograph of the execution, where the abstraction is reality itself – a mind-spinning thought.
The fourth woman, an American journalist investigating the femicides (sexually motivated murders of women and young girls) in Ciudad Juárez, played by Jana Oľhová, told us about the disappearance of her colleague – hauntingly resembling the story of the missing daughter – and the inexplicable ignorance of the murders by authorities and the police.
Almost directly reflecting on this “collective repression of the awareness of death”, the art historian came back again, to tell us, how badly it was received by the public, that Manet painted the “raw truth” of the execution, not some artistic illusion – that would have been comfortable enough for the audiences.
As if Manet had already foreseen this, as a conscious irony, in one of the paintings he also painted an audience, entertained by watching the execution. This is not the first reference to the entertaining “qualities” of death; it recurs in the femicides as well as in the paintings of bullfights (both are pleasure-motivated murders) by Goya, an inspirational master of Manet. But we can also recall many similar occurrences, from the ancient gladiator fights to recent horror flicks and reality shows about dying people. Why are we entertained by death? Is this our safe place to look at death, or is this indeed the fear from it, repressed by a hypocritical ignorance and cynicism? 
This is the attitude the mother of the murdered daughter is also confronted with, when she comes back to continue her story. Odd as it is, even though we all have to face death once, we have a huge deficit of empathy – not to mention Schadenfreude – when it goes to death or the loss of others. We may be affected or even shaken by it if it is a personal matter, but the more political it becomes, the guilt is disseminated and responsibility evaporates.
The art historian also lost her father and later her mother, and while she shares this intimately personal information about herself (returning again to the personal sphere), we may grasp the universal presence of loss in our lives. The loss of parents, children, hundreds of young women missed by their families – as the returning journalist continues with her story –, who didn’t even have the chance to start to live.
The three women appear together in the closing scene, joined by a fourth woman – a dead bride, a ghost, or a memento mori played by Dominika Doniga. In Victorian times, post-mortem photographs were not regarded as gruesome. There is beauty, intimacy and a loving quality in these photographs which may seem shocking to us now, because of our conflicted relationship to death: repression grows ever stronger, we don’t want to talk about death, we don’t even want to be around it, so we exiled the dying into hospitals and hospice homes. On the other hand, we sensationalize and minimize death in the news, in movies, TV shows or video games.
Until this point, death has been only present in the performance on the metaphorical level, in the form of visions and absence, but with a dead person being actually present, there is an intriguing turn into metonymical. The dead bride starts to sing, but her beautiful voice turns into woes and screams, resulting in a discomforting cacophony. What if all the dead could raise their voices and haunt us with their tragedies?
While she sings, the three women recite a text, like a Rosary. This form of Catholic prayer (accompanied by counting the rosary beads) is often prescribed by priests as a penance after confession, to encourage contemplation about our sins. However, the text they are reciting (with sticks in their hands instead of a rosary) is not religious: “We flew through space like dual persons. But you said – you are the one who is not and I am the one who is. I give you your death, this is my expression of myself.”
If we take this as a literal reference to the act of killing – whether it is motivated by politics, money or pure pleasure –, murder is an essential part of human nature, but whoever takes the freedom to kill, places him/herself over the other human (the dual spirit), to decide over their right for life. But as the text puts it, this is not simply the wish to act like a god (like a creator), but ultimately a way of self-expression – like creating art.

Orsolya Bálint - KÖM by L1 Association On The Road
KioSK 2015 New Slovakian Theatre and Dance Festival, Stanica Žilina - Záriečie, 23-26.07.2015

On The Road_Echoes_Milan Tomášik: HUNTING SEASON by Zsuzsanna Komjáthy

Transparent movements

Simply put, Milan Tomášik’s performance, the Hunting Season, performed on Friday at KIOSK Festival in Žilina, Slovakia, is clever. Or more detailed: it is a clever, well-matured and complex choreography, which has the rare and valuable quality to feed every layer of the spectator’s curiosity. From chunky jokes to delicate historical and technical dance references, it invokes several relations simultaneously through the movements, while in the cross-fire of registers and references it is able to remain absolutely ‘meaningless’ and facile.
So as I said, HS is a clever choreography. But how did they pull it off? Let’s start with understanding the anatomy of the performance a bit more deeply! The key concept that we can adapt to sketch the skeleton of HS is transparency. Regardless of what aspect we choose to examine the choreography from, in the very core of it we will find transparency. And what do we know for sure about transparency? I mean, what is the main characteristic of anything that is transparent? That it allows something that is behind to become visible. But in the moment we would recognize anything, it (the medium) deflects our gaze from it, and reflects it back to us. The whole process indicates that we cannot define the meanings anymore (that are probably hidden behind it), and cannot identify the place of deflection (the certain point on the surface) either. The long and the short of it, we cannot penetrate transparency, since it is always-already penetrated. Our sight is lost in the medium as in a second reality that is unseen-but-visible and that is dispersed by a mysterious force. Transparency works as a snake that bites into and eats its own body; in other words, transparency allows the kind of intensity that can never be recovered to become visible. It concentrates and traps all the movements, the angles, the meanings and the structures.
photo: Natália Zajačiková
Let us think about it for a while, and examine it further! We can use the expression of transparency for instance to cover the ‘vaudevillish’ structure of the performance, that is on one hand the source of its humour. On the other hand, it is a tool to make the construction of the performance visible, or reflect the happenings in it – what else would be the function of the compčres, or the significance of the appearing heads and the returning clownish moves of the dancers? Or just think about the structure of the choreography for a second. It obviously consists of two parts, but each of them is so transparent and so nimble, we cannot distinguish and separate them anymore. They are embedded into each other. What about the inhale-exhale (or from another point of view, the contraction and release) dynamics of the choreography? The function of this intensity is on one hand to uncover the natural forces of the body, to reveal the elements of the movements and to disperse the elements of the movements at the same time (and through them, to control the whole performance). But on the other hand, its function is also to make fun of some typical dance genres, and some typical emotions and tones that are common both in the classical and modern dances. The parody (or as it is often defined, the second reality) traces us back to the source of the humour, and makes the representation of HS cyclical and infinite. Clever, isn’t it?
But the question of transparency is still not that simple. Because the dynamics of the inhale-exhale game makes something else visible, what is related to the deep core of every possible movement: time. However, in the moment we recognize this, our gaze is deflected, and we perceive the internal side of time: the movement again. Interesting, mirrored point of view, huh? Movements recover movements through the intensity of rhythm and time in the horizon of reflexivity, which, as a second reality, can never be recovered. HS can never be recovered. 
Zsuzsanna Komjáthy – KÖM by L1 Association On The Road
KioSK 2015 New Slovakian Theatre and Dance Festival, Stanica Žilina - Záriečie, 23-26.07.2015