Philippe Saire’s Black Out is an incredibly rich work for one’s imagination and senses. Open to a range of possibilities on how to interpret what is going on – it took me straight to my darkest nightmares and fears, those where you feel deeply happy and grateful to wake up from and breath and still be alive. It truly surprised me how a single performance was able to evoke such strong reactions in me – I felt personally, almost intimately connected to it, mesmerised by the visual effects the shift between the light and the darkness created.
I walked in to find the usual performance space at the Dance House transformed into specially constructed black box for the audience to look into from above. We were welcomed by three awkwardly positioned bodies lying on a white floor, wearing close to nothing whilst very bright lights from above made it seem like they’re suffering fish drying out in the sun. Each of the performers had a clearly marked territory to start with and a great sense of belonging to the space. It was a strong image to build up expectations from.
Through clean and crisp movement and sound patterns, performers took us on a very purposeful journey, where every detail felt carefully thought through and honest in the essence. Their dancing had real force and tension in their struggles and physical encounters as well as clarity in fine subtleties; nothing was pretend or done for the sake of moving.
Gradually, the initial brightness of the space was taken over by thousands of tiny black granulated rubber pieces that played a major role in the build up of the narrative. The square room became the grounds for the play between the light and the dark, creating very stimulating visual images. Watching the performers coalesce with the site, one could draw parallels with life and death where the latter progressively takes over and it’s up to you whether you spend your time fruitlessly fighting it or you let go and engage with what’s offered.
That night I wasn’t the audience, I felt I was part of the performance, part of a shared experience and when it was over – I returned with a baggage of new reflections and packs of emotions to take with me. It was as if I had just watched someone’s life fast-forwarded without having any control over it. Philippe Saire’s Black Out is a work to remember.
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