In the evening of May 27th 2009, laser beams pierced through the darkness of the auditorium of NoD theatre. Among them, two bodies of dancers and choreographers, Věra Ondrašíková and Dora Hoštová, were moving. The multimedia project Loa > 15 Steps was supplemented by Jana Vránová´s choreography Magnet.
The first part, Loa by Dora Hoštová and other authors of the whole project, Pavla Beranová, Michal Rydl and Patrik Sedlák, was conceived in a minimalist way. So minimalist, actually, that the audience had to split in two groups in order to fit into the small auditorium where it was performed. In the short performance with live piano accompaniment, a red laser beam functioned as another main character apart from the dancer. Dancing was performed in constant interaction with the laser and the dancer’s movements were defined by the beam as well. This visually impressive solo was above all an exercise foreshadowing the possibilities of employing laser technology, and it also adumbrated the following choreography.
For the 15 Steps, the audience moved (this time all together) to a larger auditorium. Their ears were then flooded with sound, a very different one from the piano tones of the previous performance. In the darkness in front of them, an indefinite object was flashing – a body moving on the stage. When the sound reached the intensity of a train roaring right above you and you felt your head was about to burst should the sound become a bit more intense, the figure of the performer appeared on the stage. She was surrounded by laser beams, which were drawing several lines on the floor. Did these represent paths leading out of dark chaos? Věra Ondrašíková began to follow them. Following an arrow she steadily advanced along the individual lines. Her movements were not complicated, but displayed precise timing in accordance with changing dynamic and the direction of the movement. With an increasing number of intersections, the woman’s trust in arrows and directions began to dwindle. She tried to become independent of them, but at this moment as if some outer force reprogrammed the surrounding environment and put her again in the position of a follower. The woman may have been imprisoned in a reality controlled by computer technologies, which was symbolized by an arrow pointer of a computer mouse. Or was it an expression of definite limitation of man, whose path ultimately leads where it should, no matter what he or she does? Věra Ondrašíková’s path in this performance eventually led to dissolution of her body in a “tunnel” of lines which were projected on the wall. Was it a loss of her own identity in networks of technologies or merging with some form of the absolute? 15 Steps by Věra Ondrašíková, apart from bringing a visual experience to the audience, certainly did inspire many questions as well…
In the last choreography, laser beams were replaced by a small light of a candle. In contrast to the preceding multimedia performances, Magnet relied more on dance proper, which was interesting mainly thanks to the plasticity and flexibility of movements of the author and main performer Jana Wrána. Her partner was Pavol Kršiak. With their focused performance and charisma, the interprets succeeded in creating an impressive atmosphere. However, the logical content of the performance was missing, at least to me. I would probably refrain from trying to interpret it, and would simply enjoy this effective abstraction, only if the dancers were not dressed in so specific costumes. A nurse and a man in pyjamas – most probably a patient – made me look for some specific explanation of their changing relation, their contact or separation.
The choreographies in NoD thus left several questions unanswered. But the authors have given one clear answer: in their performances there are questions to ask and to motivate the audience to search for their own answers.
Premiere: 26. 5. 2009 (Loa > 15 Steps) / 6. 1. 2009 (Magnet)
NoD / Divadlo Ponec
Translation: Hana Dušáková