choreography and dance
Katarzyna Chmielewska, Bethany Formica, Rafał Dziemidok, Leszek Bzdyl
Dance Advance, Philadelphia LiveArts Festival, Polish Cultural Institute in New York, Kulczyk Foundation, Klub Żak
Staromiejski Dom Kultury in Warsaw
with support of
Trust for Mutual Understanding in NYC, Urząd Miasta Gdańska
Stary Browar, Poznań (1, 2 March 2008) / Klub Żak, Gdańsk (6 March 2008)
Philadelphia Live Arts Festival (September 2008)
After a warm reception by critics and audience in Philadelphia and New York, the latest show of Dada Theater comes back to Poznań. The show took shape in two stages, in two different geographical locations - Philadelphia (with the help of Dance Advance) and Stary Browar/ Poznań, where it had its premiere in the first days of March. Next to Polish dancers, the show features Philadelphia dancer, Bethany Formica. Costumes were designed by Hiroshi Iwasaki.
The project's partners: Polish Cultural Institute in NYC, Klub Żak/ Gdansk;
The project was produced with support from: Trust for Mutual Understanding in NYC, City Council of Gdansk, Staromiejske Centrum Kultury/ Warsaw.
A silly biped shows a group of unconditional, impulsive behaviours, which could be called an Aversion towards killing [A]. It so happens, however, that some of its original gastronomic (and sexual?) Urges [U] cannot be fulfilled without the killing of members of its own kind, or members of other, related species. In other words, committing deeds, which the biped sincerely hates to commit, is its life's need. This is not a dramatic conflict. This is a conflict, which - the thoughtlessness of the fortune - we cannot avoid. Hence, it is a Tragic [T] conflict.
It might be easier to assume, that the tragic dichotomy is not a relation between the Aversion to killing and the very necessity to kill, but rather, a relation between Fear and Hunger, or between the production of adrenaline and the production of digestive juices., or even the Biblical contradiction of the ban on having children and a simple urge to submit to a sexual act (in which the essence of the story of Eden is contained). This has a secondary meaning. No matter whether the [A]version concerns the killing or risking life in combat and at work, or having children, and whether the need comes down to eating and getting rid of the sperm. Faktor T., the original tragedy, remains unaltered and has to be taken for granted.
Stefan Themerson, Faktor T.
Considering Stefan Themerson's above statement, Dada Theatre transfers it to the post-dramatic theatre arena. After a multitude of decompositional, nonlinear experiences, an Actor discovers a peculiar [A]version to dawdling in life’s conflicts. Following the discovered [A]version, the Actor plunges in the diminution of ego and the exploration of harmony. This particular honesty towards oneself, however, leads to an impotent insignificance, to a passive creation of crippled meanings and, ultimately, to theatrical death.
This could be the point at which this catastrophe might be ended. However, faced with the audience, the Actor submits/ once more submits/ always submits to the need of survival. Yields to the everlasting Game principle. Well? Isn't Factor T embodied in this post-dramatic, actor's dichotomy?
Stretched between the [A]version and the [U]rges Actors, as well as Spectators (with the Spectators wanting high emotions and, instead, being utterly bored after the first five minutes...) we, once again, are confronted with this theatrical comedy as we would be with an ancient tragedy. Hopelessly bound with Factor T, unable not to submit to Factor T, we constantly duplicate Factor T.
When the dancers of Dada von Bzdülöw are acting, they are acting against - against brutal pictures and cheap emotions. They have created a marvelous piece full of distance and cutting satire. (...) "Factor T" is one of the most ambitious artistic hybrids, challenging the stereotype of contemporary dance as a suspicious art, “only for the initiated”, the “arty-farty” thing.
Patryk Czaplicki, “Dziennik”
"Factor T", slowly gathering speed, heads towards the absurd. If they took this absurd seriously, it would be hardly bearable. But instead, there is a lot of underlying humor in their performance, the humor which grows out of fifteen years of their struggling with the matter of life. But they've never claimed: it's only playing, there's nothing to worry about. It's playing - and it isn't. We are situated on the border. Us and you. We can laugh, but we can equally find there nothing to laugh about.
Tadeusz Skutnik, “Polska. Dziennik Bałtycki”
From a light flirtation to a painful revelation, Factor T combines a high degree of focus with a pretty light treatment of the topic. Throughout the whole performance, the dancers magnetically attract our eyes and equally magnetically react to one another – like magnets they pull one way and push the other, but never really loose their self-control. Factor T leaves the audience breathless and enjoyably amused – it's hard to think of a better artistic effect.
Ali King, www.blog.livearts-fringe.org
Within seconds of the opening, Katarzyna Chmielewska shows herself as such an astonishing dancer that it would have been impossible not to be spellbound, whatever her message. She seems incapable of a movement that’s not infused with splendor.
The conflict between desire and aversion is clearly rendered. It was hard to hear, but I gather that Rafal Dziemidok, with his delightful life-beaten face, asked the audience whether someone has a cigarette while warning us not to smoke. Stretched over a red beach ball that symbolizes Mother Earth, he stops breathing so he will no longer emit carbon dioxide. Bethany Formica, excellent throughout, arouses desires none of her favored males in the audience would dare act upon in public as she stares them down in increasingly seductive attire. (...) Her seductive glances are not only sexual; they portray the artist’s tragic need to endlessly seduce an audience. All these contradictions are danced and acted marvelously.
Steve Antinoff, “Broad Street Reviews”, Philadelphia