IMPRESSIONS OF THE FORSYTHE COMPANY
Forsythe Company at Brooklyn Academy of Music-October 10,2009
A work by William Forsythe
Stage Design William Forsythe
Lighting design JanWalter/William Forsythe
Music David Murrow
Costumes Claudia Hill
Dramaturgy by Rebecca Groves
Video Design Phillip Bubmann
Sound Design Bernhard Klein, Dietrich Kruger, Niels Lanz
Camera by Ursula Maurer
If one could possibly imagine what whining, whinging, wheedling ants from hell might sound like, they might conjure up utterances resembling the din of “Decreation”, the excellent, disturbing and thought provoking performance presented by The Forsythe Company last week at BAM.
Jarring, writhing, tortured, LOUD text featuring the performers’ shrieks, demands, and queries filled the air- along with electronically altered versions of the same. Volcanic whooshes with enough force to blow the hair off your head were thrown in the mix, and for a dose of (thank goodness) levity, some fine, fun operatic a la Las Vegas singing extolling the glories of love was sandwiched between the scary stuff.
The movement, like the text, coiled, pulled, withdrew, gnarled, warped, grabbed, picked its nose, flagellated, cried and decayed.
Sometimes what we saw was quite literal– dancers rolling all over the floor and each other lustily immersed in their interlocking shapes. Or, one dancer wedging her self into a duet of lovers and hungrily grabbing another’s hand to her ass and crotch, playing for awhile then, without a care, walking away.
At times the movement was more reflective of a mood, as in a section when a man continually, with painfully slow enunciation, repeats, to his female partners ear, “YOU Will give me E-V-e-r-y-thing and I will give you NO-thing” We see his face and only her back as over and over he tortures her with this simple, ever so slowly turned phrase. Directly in front of the anonymous back, another woman dances distorted emotionally charged shapes and phrases. Perhaps she is reflecting the pain of her female counterpart, or maybe she is warning her to get the hell out. It seems too late, the seated woman’s only reaction to her torment is to moan haltingly, like a sick cat; otherwise, she is paralyzed--raw stuff.
Everything is raw. The stage is raw- skeletal and bare- even with a huge table, chairs, a musician with his electronic standing keyboard, and 18 dancers moving in and out. A cameraperson, as well, meanders through the scene catching bits of this and that, highlighting contortions we might not other wise notice. A large rectangular screen that glows on and off, looking like an oversized Iphone, is often filled by an isolated screaming face or an unusually angled view of one of the cast (perhaps a head surrounded by feet) lending a surreal quality to the normal. Tall microphones are placed around the stage to pickup every piece of bewildering emotion as the world loses its mind.
The dancer/actor/singers, talents of the highest caliber, enthrall and evoke. Whether strutting effeminately on tip toe in a purple suit with a red clown nose on top of head, connecting to, or disconnecting from one another, whether hissing, singing boisterously, crawling, or screaming “YOUR FUCKED” in unison-they bring the meat and gristle to the bare bones of the minimalist set, serving up a wealth of ornate and complex images to contemplate. I am reminded of the tormented paintings of Hieronymus Bosch. How odd. There is no color on stage and no surreal beasts, yet somehow -in the lines- they are suggested.
A lot happens in "Decreation." It is a loud messy barrage for sure, with sex, relationships and the crazed behavior of people at love slamming us constantly. However, unlike the numbing bombardment from the tabloids, TV news, reality shows soap operas, billboards etc- Mr. Forsythe and his company offer us inner explorations of the gnawing questions, confusions, and primal fears that accompany the souls quest for love.
This is unnerving, and awakens.