Posted by Levi Hanes
Faustin Linyekula started the performance before the house lights went down or even the entrance doors shut. The stage lights were low setting and eerie, stark stage where Linyekula and a D.J. performed. It was and interesting setting to watch while the audience carried on in conversation and made final seating. There was almost a flattening effect where two very different worlds were on display the audience and stage. After about five minutes or less the house lights went down and revealed a minimal stage slowly lit like a dawn.
The stage props looked ideal for international travel. Everything could be fit in two carry-on bags. Orange-red tape ran along the edge squaring off the stage, orange light cords hung from the rafters suspending dimmer lights and white perforated industrial bags were placed across the floor, later used as hoods, projection screens, and noise makers.
The DJ sat stage left surrounded by a small pile of equipment, which for the first part of the performance I took for granted. What an odd thing to have a stationary figure in a dance recital, but now that I think about it there are dances where the performer is on stage such as flamenco, or tango.
The music alternated from low and atmospheric to a near screaming scorch of mob chanting voices. It really got loud at points and this wasn’t the first time at TBA I had wished I had brought concert earplugs. Maybe this generation has been to a few too many clubs and basement rock shows and simply have no hearing left. At one point I wondered if the defining noise wasn’t a bit of a distraction, but the effect I think was what many DJ’s aspire to which is to make the audience feel the music. And just when it seems the tracks have gone on far too long the sound was cut and the strained near whisper singing of the dancers came through.
The costumes were two men in burlap monk attire (Muslim or Christian? Neither?) a man in checkered pants and green sports coat and Linyekula in a newspaper skirt and white shirt. The movements looked loose and improvised, yet powerful and apparently cues to the other performers. One set had the coupling of the performers and one lifting the other in a tender walk across the stage. Other moments had the two “monks” grimacing in confrontational poses towards the audience making it difficult to watch the other two dancers make there delicate movements.
This is definitely and interesting and moving show, ending in a slide show of what looks like family images from a scrapbook. Another performance on memory and nostalgia (I am thinking of Daniel Bernard Roumain) in the TBA festival. Linyekula approaches the idea of memory as a fragmented experience, one that has remembered movements and sensations, but no linear story. The music sometimes overwhelms the movements and some of the characters distract from the motion of others, but I get the feeling this was the intention to evoke the confusion of memory. Anyway I will be attending the show again tonight.