Brighton Fringe 2023
Thirty five minutes of intense gripping physical theatre – worth every second! Rosanna ter Steege’s journey of disassociation is both intense and extremely potent, as each fibre in her being is frantically and carefully placed to explore the various ‘chapters’ of her childhood battle with disassociation. This piece was inspired by her autobiography, evolving over the lockdown in 2020 – Making a profound impact on the audience as we feel the emotions of exposure verses retraction within Rosanna’s physical process of “surviving life.”
“Not showing the face, wanting to hide, not wanting to be exposed; but you’re pushed to be exposed.”
Each score of movement is complimented effectively by Yassine Belghanch, to create a “disturbing” clarity of sound to heighten the audiences immersive experience of depersonalisation.
UIT|EEN|VAL is a raw visceral statement exploring the theme of disassociation, an amalgamation of both choreographed and improvised movement. Rosanna ter Steege and Yassine Belghanch are a formidable team, crafting the work of Disintegrate; to incorporate dance with a supporting “unnerving” sound-scape. Rosanna is the driving force of her own autobiographical narrative, performing solo as she endeavours to physically disturb her audience with the ‘demands’ placed on a child who questions their evolving identity. I particularly enjoyed how she experimented with ‘changing the presentation/appearance’ of her face through use of hand sculpting and movement of her eyelids – whilst sustaining eye-contact with her audience.
Rosannna’s work begins with her revisitation of her childhood, the work stems from her rereading of childhood journals during the lockdown “noticing and seeing my journals from when I was a young kid to older – I realised I was disassociating a lot as a young kid to cope with trauma.” This intent is successfully executed as the audience observe her ‘fight’ for survival through carefully placed movements, with gripping emotive eye-contact that forces you not to look away but to bare witness to her torment. Each chapter of this work allures you to different states of mind that a child would experience through harrowing breath work, travel sequences and carefully choreographed cycles of movement that fluctuate in different rhythms and intensities.
This work is haunting and not for ‘vacant’ viewing – Supported by Yassine’s under-score of instrumental sparse music that only supports how helpless and oppressive Rosanna’s feelings become, almost crawling her way out of her situation to only then be ‘pushed’ back into the exploitation of her trauma. As Yassine states, “when you disassociate there are times when you’re clear but you don’t know when it goes.” The unnerving sound-scape evolved from Yassine’s music studio in Holland, where both artists began working on the seed of ideas through improvised movements and reactive sound, which has now evolved into UTI |EEN |VAL.
What remains throughout the piece is Rosanna’s resilience and unwavering ‘hope’ as the performer explains her sense of ‘control’ in each score of movement and precise placement of gestures, allowing her to effectively control the movement but not over power her. This is supported in her beautiful construction of breath patterns and lifting of the heels through rapid succession of fast paced movements. “I choose when to stop it, in relationship to the audience – as sometimes when I active this, the breath, it’s also triggering to continue somewhere. Now is enough. Now I go.”
The Fisherman’s Museum Loft was perfect in creating an atmospheric set with simplistic lighting that only added to the intensity of the piece. It’s amazing what can be achieved with bare brick and a few lightbulbs to enhance the intimacy of the set, and the connection between Rosanna and her audience. At times visibility of the musical equipment felt a little distracting to the main story-telling, but perhaps this was intentional. Overall, this is a daring and innovative piece of dance that exposes mental health and the complex intricacies involved in childhood trauma. Rosanna and Yassine simply manage to capture potently what words cannot express. This is a must see for those seeking experimental physicalised theatre that is both moving and disturbing. You will leave questioning what you just saw whilst simultaneously appreciating the powerful story-telling. How Rosanna commands your attention throughout is truly commendable and supports the quality of the work.