The Star

the double room: feature in The Star, South AfricaDance circles in the sand
by Adrienne Sichel

Text transcribed from The Star, South Africa, 13 December 2001

‘Please stop this violent passage of time’ pleads a line of poetry that finally emerges from a series of projected footprints imprinted with fragmented words.

Impending death (in this case due to HIV / Aids) and the pressure to find personal closure inform this exceptional dance theatre work.

Not since Noah’s Phobia has this company produced a work of such profound fecundity. the double room represents the pinnacle of achievement for PJ Sabbagha and all of his Forgotten Angle collaborators.

The symbiotic relationship between all the dancer-choreographers, Nathaniel Stern’s animation, interactive video and performed slam poetry, Lisa Younger’s design and Declan Randal’s light is utterly remarkable.

the double room provides simultaneous exposure of two worlds – the conscious and the subconscious. The real and the surreal share the same time frame and thought line. Visual and aural poetry unfurl in truly elastic emotion as limbs and bodies and images disappear and reappear.

True to the duality of this enthralling 50-minute piece, the sand floor provides the perfect metaphoric base for the sands of time doubling as the circus ring of life. This soft, volatile surface also transforms Forgotten Angle’s characteristic bruising physicality into a lyrical yet no less challenging language.

At the center of this schizoid dreamscape is Gys de Villiers as the protagonist, marooned in a room, who triggers his past with the feel and sound of a spoon. Here’s a perfectly cast performer who moves with total integrity, emotional veracity and brilliant timing.

Memories (initially embodied by Athena Mazarakis, Craig Morris, Rayzelle Sham, and Raschika Marx dressed in black) materialize and his body becomes part of a gravity-surfing animation sequence.

As the man’s multidimensional reminiscences continue, a woman in white (his wife? his mother?) appears.

She is portrayed by Luana Nasser, whose strength and dramatic maturity perfectly complements and galvanizes the scattered narrative.

As always, Morris and Mazarakis are the backbone of mind-whirling ensembles and emerge as consummate artists in an Edith Piaf No Regrets duet.

Morris also tangles with De Villiers before he vanishes – quite literally.

Rush to the dance Factory before the double room itself disappears. There’s no guarantee producers will snap up this imaginative exploration of relationships, which deserves the widest possible exposure.

Related artworks: the double room, enter, 13 Views of a Journey, the storytellers, undertoe
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