Gigs, dance, art

January 20th, 2010: Robyn Orlin – Call it… kissed by the sun… better still the revenge of geography


I know, I said I would give up and stop going to her shows. But her moving out of South Africa had given me hope that familiarity was holding her down. The first time I saw one of her shows was great, so maybe she had been getting too comfortable.

Well. Ibrahim Sissoko was great, and I’d like to see him perform in another setting. He can do a lot, and his B-Boy stints were both technically cool and not overdone. So that’s one trap nicely avoided. The guy has charisma, and he made it a good show for me. Maxime Rebière was doing live graphics and though he was OK, it was all to meaningful for me and suffered a lot from reminding me of what Meg Stuart can do when it comes to collaborating with visual artists. I think that hit the main nerve. It’s not just about integrating someone else into a show. I think it’s just that I can relate to Meg Stuart’s language in a way that I just can’t reach with Robyn Orlin. So I can appreciate Sissoko’s performance, but the cheerful/comfortable/predictable background makes me uneasy. And her provocative bits just leave me unruffled. This time that was her calling for everyone to have their mobile phone alarm go off at the same time, challenging everyone to transgress that big rule of theaters: turn off your mobile.

Well, I didn’t play along, and got a couple of sneers from people next to me. I don’t own a mobile phone. And I think that tells a lot about why Robyn Orlin is too cool for me, and why I love Meg Stuart.

There were good bits, but most of that relied on Sissoko’s presence. And as the show went on I felt he could have done more. But those many cliched bits had him stuck. I mean I don’t think any single one was left out. It’s so easy for her to stand and bring them out. She can claim she’s being ironic. But her Sarkozy trashing was also so easy as to be almost an endorsement. It’s all so comfortable and predictable. Her audience is mainly people who make a show of loathing Sarkozy but wouldn’t set foot outside of Paris into the suburbs — totally different concept from in the US: here suburbs are your inner cities — and she plays to them, makes them feel good. She can say she leaves things open-ended, and blame the audience. Maybe that means I’m a middle-of-the-road person — I wish — but it all felt as a discourse for the middle-aged middle-class. Claiming Hip-Hop for that could have made sense but didn’t for lack of a deep enough connection. In my opinion, of course.

I didn’t think this post would come out this way, but I try to be positive this year, and this time that meant dragging Meg Stuart into an unrelated post. Leaning on her for cheerfulness, that’s going to make sense to exactly nobody but me.


January 23, 2010 - Posted by | Dance | , ,

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