about the performance Hot Terrace
(Poema Theatre, St. Petersburg)
A person, obsessed with writing, has nearly become a perfect character of the contemporary life: replenishing and rerecording the memory, identity recording, reconstruction of one’s (pre)history, struggling to pave the ways of getting satisfaction – one way or another are everybody’s concern. These complicated relationships with writing – from the school pupil’s devotion to the text to the mute body’s protest against the dictatorship of the signs, from the official red tape to the elevated erotic relations with the symbol, from the fascination with sensuality of writing to the aversion to the carrion of figures and letters, - all these are represented to the audience in ‘Hot Terrace’.
Spasm, numbness, inability to cry, internal overflow with signs, which lay in the beginning of the performance – the character seems to be catching his voice with his hands and violently pushing something into his mouth, that emptiness, which is missing inside – this is followed by the scene of the desperate disintegration between the voice and the language, the body and the sign, the perception and the memory. Then the character finds a big phallic pencil, which he uses to draw in the air, either conjuring his anxiety or obsessively drawing out his symptom, trying to set himself free, to throw out a letter itching inside, separate himself from it, or fumbling like a blind man with a cane the outlines of his future physicality. The blood-vascular symptom emerges at the point of the overwhelming and thickening of the signs, at that part of the body, where the carnal is not set apart from the symbolic, hence the spasms always remind of a desperate fight between the live flesh for emancipation from the authority of the sing patterns. The writing becomes a form of finding the corporeality, laying on his own flesh throughout the symbolic layers of being, the creation of his own chain of traces, the history of his milestones. Writing out the live body on top of the emptiness of indifferent matter, discharging, contortion, ejection, followed by the masochistic delight with the phallic writing.
Just as a postfact this separation of the flesh from the sign can be assumed as castration, written as the loss primed with pain, as this is only in the writing where the loss can be detected and only then the physicality can be marked with a sign of castration and loss. In other words, the language can be taken away only from that one, who is being possessed by it, who is overwhelmed with it. This approach and estrangement of the symbol from the body turns into a refined erotic play and arouses the desire and the protest, the passion and the aversion, the pain and the delight.
This is not by chance that in the next scene the characters take the plastic figures of a man and a woman, which they move strictly along the straight lines of the chessboard. This painful hopeless inscription into the binary routine of black and white, presence and absence, the male and the female, “fort” and “da” is poured out onto the stage of the rebellion and arithmolisis, combustion of the numbers in the factory furnace. This factory of signs remanufacturing absorbs not only figures, but it invalidates the whole order of being and makes the reality uncountable, unextended, unnamed. That means - alive.
Der andere Schauplatz
Using his constant device, Valentin Tszin brings out onto the stage not just a story, but a concept, in this case the concept of splitting. Two characters, two instances, two modes of expression, two scenes: the scene of writing and the scene of body, brought apart in the space as well as in the time. To find out the points of their clinch and the irretrievable gaps is the aim of Poema Theater performance. The female character is drafting with the chalk some unknown writings onto the board while the male body is being overwhelmed by the spasms and convulsions now and again – two different modes of expressiveness, conversional protest in this case becomes the proText, written by the performing act, the product of the sings factory manufacture.
Eventually the male character falls out of the curtains drawing the ladder with himself, which, as we surprisingly find out, turns out to be not only a subject, but the letter ‘A’, that letter which he finally manages to separate from himself, to give birth to it out of the darkness of the backstage; this very subject becomes a fetish, a transitory object (something like the turquoise high boots, which are being worn by both characters in turns), mediating their relationships further on: when he steps onto the steps of the ladder, she starts to shake the ladder, takes it away from him until finally she gets inside and starts dancing with it. So, the letter becomes an object, Az-fetish, literally creating the frame of the physicality and erotic relationships. Placed apart the tops of the jackboots, spread apart the legs of the female character in one of the final scenes – all of them in one or another way follow the pattern of this ‘Az’, that sacred symbol, which each of the characters is eager to possess, which they want to make immortal in their bodies.
In the finale of the performance the backdrop also becomes the front curtain, hiding another stage behind it. There we can see the Protogon, holding the cocoon of intertwined bodies of the characters braking throughout the thin shell. Behind the curtain there is an egg, in the egg there is sex, in sex there is death. This is the finale of this performance written with the bodies. The finale form - the show inside the show – repeats the idea that the body is built inside the functioning of the writing and that the writing manifests the physicality; you can call ‘the body’ only something which is already written, noticed, imprinted on the other stage. Giving the form to the idea.