Triptyque Sans Titre

When it comes to evaluating dance as performance, particularly modern ones, I am the first to admit my critical faculties are woefully short. In particular, the absence of narrative often forces me to gauge such pieces purely on visceral impact. And on that criteria, I have to say Congolese choreographer Faustin Linyekula's latest work, Triptyque Sans Titre. performed at the Yerba Buena Center on Sept 17th, is particularly effective. I can't say whether it's any good or not but I do know it left an impact. Loosely billed as the flashback memories of an amnesiac who has a story to tell (but has now forgotten it), the piece is an exploration of the horrors of colonialism and internecine warfare suffered by the people of Congo. As befits the title, there are three main parts each accompanied by a live soundscape from the musician Joachim Montessuis. Armed with a laptop, a mic and one or two electronic gadgets, he crouches on the floor amidst a landscape of naked electric bulbs hanging from the ceiling and plastic bags littered all over. The pattern is the same each time: a drone in the beginning which grows and ebbs and finally builds to a shattering crescendo (so much so that the Yerba Buena management provided earplugs to patrons prior to the start of the show), finally falling away to silence when we can finally hear the dancers chant. The dancers run to and fro, perhaps suggesting escape from external enemies, fight with each other, cover themselves with bags and then, at the end of it all, come together in unison, suggesting a rapproachment of some sort. A projector throws up pictures of babies and families, the real victims of the Congo war. Strong stuff.

PS - The San Francisco Bay Guardian has a review here.

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- September 26, 2005 6:01 PM // Bay Area , Dance , Review