Edinburgh Fringe 2018
Does a body have its own soul? Does a body make us a human being? What is hidden beneath nudity, and what is nudity itself? Nudity is extreme openness and vulnerability and, at the same time, an incomprehensible power connected not only with sexuality. The magic of Eros, compelling power of nudity, way up and way down, transcendence and co-creation, fragility and strength. Life, death, pain and love – all of this complex and unspeakable physical phenomenon is what we are researching in (Some)Body.
Crossing the stage performers from Alyona Ageeva’s Physical Theatre PosleSlovwalk in stylized movement to baroque music. Beautifully lit they move in silence then in slow motion and do a butoh scream – silently making a statement. Posleslov is a company from Russia that produces their own original shows and tourin Europe. Their productions – devised and choreographed by Posleslov company director Alyona Ageeva, together with other members of the company – are striking for their creativity and exceptional movement quality. Inspired by mythology and incorporating metaphor and poetry their work expresses their feelings and their place in the world.
Altona Ageeva’s artistic choices are bold, sensitive and meaningful. One motif of reverberating arms and slow sustained movements with restrained energy is poignant and visceral. Another interesting moment in the first section is when a male performer shows confidence and the female shows shame, when she crouches with her arms enveloping her as she hides her face. One can say that this shows a typical reaction in today’s society. It’s a very human moment in this devised physical theatre piece for this is a total nudity show.
The premise of the show is to discover what a body might express, in total nakedness. Throughout the piece there is such integrity and sincerity that it conveys art and beauty. A male performer shows grace and unusual twisting and angular footwork and a female performer reacts with a quivering movement of electricity. It is beautiful when the performers stand profile to each other with hands curved as if holding a mirror to see what’s inside their soul, and then they turn their palms to the audience to see their own soul.
A particularly moving sequence is when a female performer kneels over and covers her body with her very long hair, like a curtain. Voice-over in Russian accompanies performers who stride forward with arms taut covering the face then opening, bringing to life a Greek dance possibly seen in a painting or sculpture.
Music is an important element of this company’s shows and the sound design by David Block is superb. He composed original pieces for (Some)Body and drew together music by 36, Origamibiro, Thomas Morisset, Filmy Ghost (Sábila Orbe), Henry Purcell, and William Byrd.
(Some)Body comprises 12 sections expressed by physical theatre created from specific ideas, starting with a Prologue and ending with Who are you? PosleSlov researches themes of art, literature and mythology to create their work, and together with their grace and unique movement style they create theatre that resonates.