Escape Act by Alexandra Bachzetsis
by Veronica Posth
Sex, can we talk about this? The new piece by Alexandra Bachzetsis, Escape Act, shown at Hau Berlin, talks about it, floating between absurdity and soft provocation in a light attempt to deal with contemporary taboos and obsessions.
Incapsulated in one paper box, a woman performer sings a song out of tempo and quite discordant with a repetitive mix of sexual urban vocabulary as lyric. Another woman with veiled face wearing baggy trousers and a pair of shiny red high heels enters the stage to walk and roll over herself resembling challenging yoga positions. Then comes on stage someone else with a closed folded chair and starts taking off several clothes showing a bulletproof vest under multi-layers. Another one shows up with long reddish hair on the face moving softly and keeping his/her identity veiled. Another woman shows up wearing big white panties and t-shirt. With long free hair she opens up her legs in a long splits showing the well formed muscles and the long pointed feet in a mix of naive / sexual behaviours. At the same time a tall man at the back of the stage is unrolling two long inflatable mattresses with nonchalance, while another one recites some random stories about his butt injection that seem not to have any plot nor a grounded meaning.
Some sketches are captivating such as a good-looking guy being absorbed by a inflatable pillow while he acts cool and relaxed rapping some lines composed by urban sex terms. In front of him a woman jumps up and down on her butt on an inflatable mattress simulating an excessive sex movement, probably in a vain attempt to be seen and desired. Beautiful and catchy when they all intersect with each other wearing extra long jeans tight at the end, keeping two by two inseparable, while they all twist and contort in sex-sensual behaviours.
Every performer, in its own peculiar way, has potential but here they all act scenes that appear quite superficial,
at times even improvised. Their physicality comes out from well-formed bodies but the performative contents are shallow and there is no dance involved. Moreover there are no transitions between the parts involved resulting a patchwork of ideas not fully developed. In addiction to that, the plot is not very convincing if not the desire to break borders and the wish to make sex an explicit practice, easy to be shown and talked through, but there is nothing innovative into that. Neither the general idea nor the scenes are striking or slightly provocative leaving space to some associations but most of all to scepticism and interrogation.
In general the piece is cohabited by ambiguous identities with unimpressive behaviours. Also the orientations and messages are not fully identifiable. Some associations to voguing and You Tube Tutorials make to think about the superficiality of the up-to-date tendencies, appearance versus content but is it enough? As the introduction to the work says, with the relevant mass-produced visual media and steadfast obsession to keep young forever preserving as much as possible a youthful body, it seems almost impossible to distinguish between appearance and existence.
Indistinguishable appearance from existence then. But is it possible to perceive this idea in this piece?
More like it, it brings to witness the deconstruction of boundaries in particular the ones interlaced with sexual practices and identities in the 3.0 sexuality and its facets. Generally it seems to touch the queer-ism that has no form but a large and changing identity, the researched luxury and freedom to talk easily and explicit about sex, the legitimation of using sexual words starting from an out loud monotonous song. But the lack of depth discourages from deep reflections. Something converges towards the need to get over taboos and fears, the desire to play and fool around, and the wish to get out from labels and standards but the outcome is not critical nor formulated enough to really leave a trace.
Submitted to contemporay-dance.org the 27th March 2019