IN SEARCH OF DARKNESS

To read in Polish go to: http://centrumsztukitanca.eu/recenzja-spektaklu-ciemnosc-to-jest-ukryte-justyna-stanislawska/

Once upon a time there was a big bang in the dark and God/Gods created/made this world and Man with it. At first he was destined to live between the light and the dark, to distinguish between day and night, and good from evil … But Moirais spin a different thread for everyone and Man went his own way.

Each of us head the unknown. Human fate is a path that we follow blindly. Our beginning looms in the darkness of the universe, and the end is unforeseeable like darkness. What is the darkness? Who is afraid of it and who wants to be immersed in it? Whom is it prison for ? Is the darkness only outside, or perhaps you have to look inside yourself to find it? After watching the spectacle of the Chorea Theater from Łódź, my mind was flooded with dozens of similar questions. It could not be different. The performance is the result of several months of workshop work of artists, blind and sight impaired people. It is an important and extremely interesting social project, combining two co-existing worlds – light and dark, but also combining therapeutic and educational aspects with the art. The result is so interesting from the artistic point of view, that it is worth to look

The play Darkness. What is hidden in a beautiful way refers to the tradition of ancient Greek drama. Introduction, the characters of the three Moirais spinning their thread throughout the duration of the performance, the narrative of the choir, the three actors in masks and procession, forces the viewer to reach for the toposes lying at the origins of European culture. The title ‘Darkness’ is therefore a starting point to reflect on the man himself and the ways of perceiving the world around him. Perhaps, this is why Chorea reaches for such different means of expression – references to the ancient theatre are juxtaposed with modern multimedia projections, light of matches with the stroboscope effect, biblical quotations with excerpts from Adam Mickiewicz, Anna Lyndsey, Carl Sagan and Lisa Randall. The attention of the viewer will surely be attracted by interesting visualizations, that take him/her on a journey in time and space – from macro to microscale. Artists, dressed in black long skirts, change roles – the division into what is masculine and feminine blurres, giving way to what is human: fear of the unknown, seeking for security, feeling helpless and unable to get full control over our own lives . The world depicted on the stage is a cosmos, consisted of an infinite number of small human universes. Dancers allow the viewers to look at some of them they present their individual characters: limited by the spotlight, huddled up, trying to take refuge; convulsive, nervous and restlessly fighting with their own bodies; falling unknowingly into new relationships in a lethargic dance.

All elements of the performance seem to exist in opposition to each other: darkness – light, sound – silence, singing – spoken words. This is a good, creative solution because it provokes the viewer to philosophical and interpretative searches, but repeated too often becomes exhausting, causes a flight of ideas and distracts from the main subject. There are more such repetitions in the performance. Dancers move in a group, then either merge into pairs or move “on the ground” to return to similar sequences. The same thing happens with the narrative – we can listen to a beautiful choral singing or less dramatically expressive and unsatisfactorily elocuted monologues of individual characters. This repetitiveness and lack of basic dramatic means of expression render the performance loses its pace around half the time. It seems that one could convey more content by condensing what is happening on the stage to the necessary minimum, even at the price of causing the viewer to feel unsatisfied. The texts used are important, but spoken quickly, with little dramatic expression they lose their potential and gutter out. What remains is the image so crucial, in my opinion, that we focus on the images created by Chorea. This is where the power of this theatre lies.

I get the impression that among the multitude of questions, threads and references, the essence of performance is lost. Where’s the darkness from the title? What’s in it? What is it for a blind person and what is it for someone who can see? What does the appearance of darkness change in a person’s life? What influence does it have on us? Answers to these and many other questions remain deeply hidden to me.

It is a pity, because both the social project and the performance could have a better chance to show what the darkness really is / can be. I would be happy to look at the new version of this performance.

 

Darkness. What is hidden, Chorea Theater

Direction and choreography: Janusz Adam Biedrzycki, Magdalena Paszkiewicz

Screenplay and dramaturgy: Wiktor Moraczewski

Music: Tomasz Krzyżanowski

Musical preparation: Joanna Filarska

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