September 20, 2014

Art Beat: Political Mother

So I went to this performance this week, which came highly recommended by my husband's friend. 

The performance was by a London based dance group called Hofesh Schecter company. They had live music, and dance. The piece is called Political Mother.

The thing that stood out right away was that the music was edgy, and modern. The dance movements, jerky, almost as if people were being pulled by strings at times. The lighting was impeccably coordinated, showing different things at different times...Dancers for a bit...then a guy who sounded like a dictator speaking different (almost garbled) languages would appear in the middle (on a raised platform set at the back). Then you would see modern guitarists, again on different raised platforms, strumming away as if at a rock concert. And then it would cut to men in military uniform, drumming away as if leading a marching band. In the middle, there was beautiful piano music as well. The story, at least what I got from it, was that people who were in different peasant/ prison uniforms were always controlled by one dictator or other (dictator's costumes kept changing, as well as the dancers). There was a time when the dancers were running around in a circle, and I thought - it looks like we are all hamsters in the circle of life, falling sometimes, but inevitably getting back on the run, perhaps in vain, but always running. 

There were people that would walk across the stage, in both directions, as if to show migration, or as if in no man's land. I thought of the middle east then. Then there was a guy who threw powder-like substance in the air, as though people were being controlled by pot and forced into labour. There were scenes indicative of torture...and couples that were either kept apart or forced apart, sometimes under gun point. 

And then at one point (this is closer to the end) the dictator removed his if he was appearing naked, finally, to the people below him..who stop, then become unshackled and don't listen to him anymore...he fades out...and then slowly they start dancing, each a different way, then slowly with peer pressure they start following each other's movements...and the line appears in the middle of the stage "where there is pressure..." half a minute later, it fills out "...there is folk dance"

Then the thing starts rewinding itself for two minutes...back to jerky movements, and now the dictator is back...but with a suit, i thought - maybe this is wall street?

The song in the end, the only piece that was clearly audible, was Joni Mitchell's "Both sides now".

It was brilliant. And completely up to your own interpretation. I am sure even if it didn't make sense to anyone, they would have loved the experience of it. You feel something, and it is whatever you make of it. 

(Note - not a review, it is basically an email with a summary of what I told friends about the show)

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