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Nóra Bükki Gálla

Another one of the experimental pieces presented by the iDans festival, 1:Songs blends sound, image and motion to create a multidimensional vision of what it means to be a woman. German theater maker Nicole Beutler devises a curious on-stage operation in which the feminine psyche is being dissected.

The performer, Sanja Mitrovic, hides behind a line of 5 microphones. In the background black and white photos are projected on a screen: a dark line of people, a woman running and falling to the ground. The images are shown from different angles, dissolving into black shapes and patches then zooming into focus again.

Music is the only companion of the performer in her lonesome voyage of emotions; Gary Shepherd’s pulsing machine-music ranges from soft pop tunes to a monotonous hammering. The performance resembles a concert, lyrics are taken from lines of tragic drama characters like Antigone or Medea. Like in a good concert, there is plenty of space for interaction with the audience (the performer says after the first shocking song: ‘Are you with me?’ or asks someone in the first row to sing with her). Mitrovic plays with her voice like it was an instrument: she screams, hisses, barks and howls as the dynamics of the piece requires.

Beutler uses a minimized movement vocabulary close to everyday gestures, conveying an ironic message: stylized, over-acted dancing between songs or robot-like motions when the performer sings about having a heart.

Like in a concert, the audience is rewarded by an extra song at the end. Thinking back we got the whole classic set of female conflicts of love and hate, desire and repulsion played out in words, gestures and screams, still the question remains whether we learned anything new about what it means to be a woman. Probably not.

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