A RAINY DAY IN PARADISE. Lithuanina dance critic about Latvian performance “Sarah Kane”


Agne Biliunaite

“Sarah Kane” – Author and director: Martins Eihe; authors and performers: Kristine Borodina, Edgars Rubenis, Aigars Apinis/Martins Eihe; producer: „Nomadi“; premiere: January 14th, 2011.

Rainy evening of 19th of September in Tallinn where the first meeting of „kedja 2012-2015”   (contemporary dance encounters) takes part. Suspicion about dark season is already sneaking around. NATO autumn trainings rumour in the empty sky. Bad day to live it on. Better just lean on art which is here in order to save our souls.

Having in mind this inner weather of the lithuanian dance critic wading back and forth in the medieval town inhabited with finno-ugrics which she doesn‘t understand nor from first neither from the last word. Somehow she finds her way to the Kanuti Gildi Saal where Martins Eihe, young director from Latvia, presents performance named „Sarah Kane“ after the realy lived and young dead playwriter Sarah Kane (1971-1999). It is obvious that „Sarah Kane“ will also deal with themes of redemptive love, sexual desire, pain, torture – both physical and psychological – and death as the real Sarah Kane one did. Guess there will be some poetry, lots of extreme and violent stage actiones and words.

First there was the Director

Brightly lit stage (clear as if it is daytime). Pinky vintage sofa marks the center of the space. There is also a big carpet (makes the space more home spirit), electic guitar (each home is always also a stage) and lots of cabels (reminds about power connections which we already got used to). The first man comes and sits on the sofa (later on he turnes to be a musician). Then another man (turns to be actor). And finaly the women (dancer). The performance starts.

Then there came Devil, Adam and Eve

First man starts provoking women visualising piqantly in words how he would like to kill his friend. Women responds to his temptation and continues this macabric story-telling adding to it tendernes and eroticism turned to the second man. He is finaly hooked on the bite and continues to reproduce the idea in different possible ways. Later on the first man takes the guitar and leads the hole dynamics of the performance, moves the body of the women, atracts her to stick to it physicly, writhle around himself, around the guitar periodicly slaping here down to the floor. While the second man tries to change the recorded guitar rythm and melody with his amateur attempts but it sounds rather weak. The cycle of temptation, continuos act of seducement by the untachible but easily physicly sensible low vibrations (low frequencies of the electric instrument reinforced by speakers and repeatedly recorded) continues even after the musician leaves the stage. This hardly bearable sound echos not only in those two chosen particular Man and Women, but also in each and every spectator sitting quietly in the amphitheater of the audience hall.

The End/The Begining

The performance could be seen almost as a chrestomatic Greek drama just the final is much more postmodernistic – it is not the God who comes at the end to bring back the world into the right order, it is a third man from the audience who goes on the stage, turns off the madly deeply brutal sound and stops the cycle, i.e. finishes the performance. Despite it‘s strongly physical and in many ways just brutal text (words, movements, sound) the context of this Latvian performance (performed in Baltic Babilon language: latvian-english-russian) is purely Christian. There are many colorful exterior wall paintings preserved on the Romanian churches from the XVth century depicting seduced sinner man and women (for the poor citizens who watch them while hiding in the monastries from the outside enemies). This performance today in a way is the same colorful and exaggerated picture of XXth century talking about that same never ending seduction sneaking aroud human nature. The only thing that changed is the Artist‘s style which sophysticated over the time, but not the main caracters or plot. Even the conclusion still is the same –man‘s divine feature – the will to choose.