I found the experience of watching a dancer dance without music oddly transfixing. Not a note played at the opening of LeeSaar The Company’s production of Geisha. As Jye-Hwei Lin came to the stage, she was nothing but vulnerable, as bare-chested she moved to accompaniment of coughs and creaking chairs. The movements were deliberate, cyclical, sexual, but somehow lacking the expected sensuality. There were tones of violence as we could hear the dancer slap her stomach. But for the fleeting moments in the middle of the action when Lin reclined and almost smiled, the scene was raw and purely physical.


With and instant change of mood, the eyes of the audience were diverted just off-stage to Lee Sher, clothed in a short red kimono and platforms. She sang dramatically and using her body to exaggerate the meaning of the lyrics, all in Hebrew, she filled the auditorium with her enormous voice. As Sher sang on, a man in front of me began to laugh loudly and alone at her histrionics. The song ended.
Enacting a grotesque seduction, Saar Harari joined the returning Lin on stage. The two danced parallel to each other, as if trying to share a moment, but audience could feel an immeasurable distance. Not until later in the performance did one actually reach out for the other. And not until the end did the dancers and music finally converge to create a vision that could be called beautiful. Even so, Lin and Harari never once touch.
The mood changed again as Sher returned, this time center stage. Bathed in a spotlight, her heartfelt ballad was met with waves of canned cheers and applause. She gave the performance of a lifetime to the invisible thousands that had come to see her. This time the whole audience laughed. Sher was the most famous pop-star in the world. She moved through the audience shaking hands, telling us (I imagine) that we were her best audience. Our star tried hard to shield her eyes from the floodlights to see our faces.
While watching the show I was slow to recognize the similarities between a woman making a living by selling her body and a woman getting rich by pretending to sell hers. My own interpretation is simply that sex is black and white and a million shades of gray and is constantly being sold, bought, and borrowed in every imaginable way. In life, those at both ends of the transaction lose out on real human contact and sadly may not notice that anything is missing.
Elizabeth Cowin