A performance on fragmentation of time and space that blurs the conventional distinctions between the ‘outside’ and the ‘inside’ of the aesthetic event
In unannounced, Heine Avdal & Yukiko Shinozaki continue their unique, poetic explorations of the theatre’s materiality. As in previous work, the conventional hierarchies between the spaces and times of performance are temporarily suspended. The boundaries between the inside and the outside of the theatre, front and back of the house, the center and the periphery of the podium, … are upended. And, while spectators and performers experience a real (and wonderful) shared moment, the boundaries of this moment are also cleverly blurred. unannounced does not start when the dancers walk onto the stage, and it does not end when they make their last exit from the podium. Instead, it explores what happens when a performance does not begin ostentatiously on the stage but almost imperceptibly among the spectators in the foyer. Or when spectators suddenly find themselves on the stage, unable to distinguish who belongs there and who doesn’t. Or when the theatre text appears, disembodied, outside of the frame of the black box, and is projected, in fragments, on the walls and floors backstage, for example. Or when spectators, rather then entering the auditorium all together, are individually accosted in the bar, and invited to join a guided tour of the building’s more obscure spaces. How do we, in such situations, position ourselves in relation to the other spectators, to the performers, and to everything else we encounter in this space?
Throughout unannounced, Avdal and Shinozaki, continue to draw attention to, and to imaginatively transform, the space(s) in which we find ourselves, by animating and making strange all elements of the theatre, from props and technical equipment, to sound and light. The center of the stage remains largely empty, while its margins and borders – its walls, floors, and curtains, and the wiring and other objects (such as props and personal items left behind by actors and technicians) – come to life. By highlighting the performativity of objects, the gestures and actions of the performers, and indeed those of the spectators, too, are put in relief. All elements of the theatre are explored for their materiality, their tactile qualities, and their texture. For a while, this performance, literally, leaves us in the dark. The performers, wielding small, portable projectors and torchlights move us through the building, focusing our gazes to its nooks and crannies, the smallest details, or the substructure of the theatrical environment. In the process, not only the characteristic darkness of the theatre auditorium becomes tangible, but also the ephemerality of the choreographic gesture, and the superficiality, speed, and temporality of the image (and of the theatrical event) are called into question. All throughout this mysterious journey, which is full of unexpected twists and turns, we are encouraged to re-position ourselves continuously, and to reconsider what and how we see.
TANZ Magazine on unannounced:
With unannounced, Fieldworks have created an intelligent work about theatre that reflects the many-faceted interdependencies between text and space, set, audience and stage. At the same time, inventive lighting and sound specialists have added their own quite specific way of looking at things. And although the piece does not spare scenic effects and sometimes ascends to the orgiastic, if not the infernal, the work itself is subdued. This is down to a delicate approach to humour and the sincere restraint of the performers
Rurhbarone on unannounced:
“unannounced” bounces gleefully back and forth, but doesn’t make a huge fuss about it. Things simply happen. It is an unbelievably clever performance that constantly has a surprise up its sleeve. fieldworks don’t save on theatrical devices but they treat their effects so brilliantly that they never become intrusive. And at the end the performers simply leave the space, there is no applause, no bowing, the music tinkles on. But it is far from over. When the audience goes down the steps into the foyer, “unannounced” carries. Our perception does not disappear when we leave the auditorium, it remains with us outside as a slightly unreliable partner, always dependent on what we expect, on where we are directing our focus, or not. Let’s be honest: ‘unannounced’ is in fact simply brilliant.
premiere: April 21, 2017 at Kaaitheater (Brussels)