Edinburgh Fringe 2022
A man stands at a crossroads in the reality of his passion between Africa and Europe, trying to stay afloat in a changing world where people are eager to try new things and discover new stars. In Fitry, Serge Aime Coulibaly reflects on his artistic and socio-political commitments and his continuous struggle to keep standing, despite the surprises and trials of life. After creating the solo Fadjiri, Fitry marks a new step in Coulibaly’s reflection on the lonely man, responsibilities towards humanity, and reasons for being onstage. The research and creation was done through the body of Jean Koudogbo-Kiki.
He stands, proud and still. Little by little his body moves and fingers twitch, still standing in the same place. Contemplating, remembering what he has experienced in life so far, the man is still standing.
Fitry is a piece choreographed and performed by Serge Aimé Coulibaly, artistic director of Faso Danse Théâtre from Brussels, Belgium. Coulibaly’s solid stance, slow movement and unflinching strength have qualities of butoh, where inner turmoil is expressed with weight and extremely slow movement in silence.
Coulibaly emotes and expresses so much with his physicality and sometimes he shares a haunting laugh, moves a step or two forward, or extends his body with shouts as if he is reliving pain.
After a while, the movement develops and he leaves the confined space moving viscerally, falling, often with eyes closed across the space. It is not necessary to understand every moment in this piece, it grows in its own time and we can feel the mood and think our own thoughts about what the man is going through and where he is.
Coulibaly has a presence onstage that is solid, strong and compelling. Wearing all white and placed, for the first half of the piece centre stage, the development of the choreography is clear and defined.
This abstract piece expresses several emotions and difficult parts of the man’s life and the situations and mood changes transition through freer movement, creative lighting and video projections on the floor and upstage wall.
Black and white are the main colours used in the lighting and costume design, which suit the theme of this piece well. Music choices are interesting and together with fascinating videos and the moody lighting we are transported to times and places in the man’s life.
This piece is well thought out and created with care, creativity and professionalism. On the surface it seems simple but Coulibaly’s story about the man and the depth of emotion coming from his core is complex. The dynamic of the story ebbs and flows, is both cool and warm, builds and expands.
A programme note mentions that the “research and creation was done through the body of Jean Robert Koudogho-kiki:. Fitri is intense and intriguing and Coulibaly certainly brings those qualities to his performance.