Opera, music, theater, and art in Los Angeles and beyond
Thus Spake Zarathustra
October 07, 2011
The world of Faustin Linyekula returned to REDCAT on Wednesday for the first time since 2007. It’s a world similar to the one we know, if perhaps a bit better looking and sounding overall. It is certainly just as complicated, enigmatic, and hyperdetermined. The new program, more more more… future, comes straight our of choreographer Linyekula’s Congo (currently the Democratic Republic of... to be exact) complete with all of the politics and conflicted philosophies intact. This show is also about sex and rock’n’roll, and Linyekula makes no bones about the “carnal endeavor” of the movement in this hybrid piece that also is accompanied throughout by a live band. Like 2007’s Festival of Lies the dancers consist primarily of three men- Linyekula, Papy Ebotani, and Dinozord. They spend about half of their time in audacious capes covered in giant ruffles like strange petit-fours with spindly legs. The magnificent costumes were designed by Xuly Bët and provide an ironic contrast to the ripped lithe male bodies underneath. They writhe against one another and individually and sometimes struggle as if wrestling. At others moments they fall to the floor, legs extended into the air as if in mid-fall from the heights above.
And also like its predecessor, more more more… future has quite a bit more going on. The band with drums, bass, two male vocalists and guitar virtuoso Flamme Kapaya plays throughout the evening. They whiz through a variety of musical genres, but more often than not crunch out highly rhythmic rock riffs underneath the poetic, political, and somewhat obtuse text of Antoine Vumilla Muhindo. The texts are political in the most off-hand way referencing the downfall of unnamed idols, hope for the future, and Zarathustra. And while there is a sense of anger at times, there is more often a feeling of confusion or resignation. The energy ebbs and flows into different forms, sometimes with the dancers and band member brawling with one another and later with the entire ensemble joined in a circle at the rear of the space in an a cappella routine with more tribal overtones. It’s a visceral performance that gives one the sense of being out in public in a world where everyone is running off in opposing directions to unclear ends. And while that can feel disorienting at times, it also feels familiar. The show is more than simply a plea for humanism or political reform. It's about living our lives in the most strange contexts and persevering. It's a very worthwhile evening of dance as well, and is worthy checking it out in one of the last two performances this week on Friday or Saturday.