This summer I first attended Ice Factory Festival at New Ohio Theatre. I knew about the place as a staple of experimental theatre in NYC, but somehow, I have never been able to attend this summer event. Good thing I finally did, as summer of 2023 will sadly enter downtown theatre history as the one when IFF’s last installment took place.
It wasn’t until here, in Iceland, where I realized the overlapping meaning of light/light in English. In the summertime, there’s only light. I’m sharing with you a story of a woman who, while raising thirteen children, found the energy and lightness to write poetry, having the feeling there’s always light in Reykjavik.
One contemporary touch is definitely the intentional crack in the usual gender polarization of Pina Bausch dancers. They used to be divided into women with long hair, long slip floral dresses and heels versus men with trousers and short sleeves shirts. This time some of the dancers on stage wearing dresses are non-binary and dancing beyond the limits of normativity.
I hate saying about theatre that it is magical; I usually believe it is more about reason and craft. But it was definitely something magic about these persons singing together in an unknown ancient language, keeping a small distance from one another while looking each other in the eyes, intensely aware of every move this expanded multi-head body made.
Circus is all about magic for the people from the streets, the majority of them street passers mostly, not theatre goers. The urban theatre and circus arts attract the common people giving them a chance to be amazed by the power of simple stories and the physical abilities of the performers.
What’s really exciting about the #MeeToo movement and Time’s Up is that it increased awareness regarding issues like the inequality between sexes and regarding the stories or fairytales we feed our kids’ imagination with (which ultimately influence their views of what behaviors are expected of them based on their gender), pointing us in the right direction and indicating what better choices we can make in order to turn this world into a better place for us, our kids, and the generations to follow.
Hamlet and Us was developed by Laboratorul de Arta, a collective within Bucharest of dancers, actors, singers and those new to the stage. The group was founded with the following mission: ". . . Human research is based on an authentic search from within and aims to express the human being in its truth and vulnerability."
Despite the fear that such controversial shows would not resonate with the American audiences/public, the project came “at the right moment and at the right place”, considering that the USA is now going through some social and political changes. This tour landed in the midst of some important events, right after the USA having their first black president in their history, just missed the opportunity to have their first female president elected, and, gosh, that was so close!