The Odeon is one of the most magnificent performance spaces anywhere in the world. A dance company need only take the Odeon down to sandy bricks and Corinthian columns to create an atmosphere of impending wonder.
Emio Greco when he brough Double Points: Hell to ImPulsTanz went one step further. He opened up not just the main theatre space but the wings. The performance space was massive. He chose to use the light pushing in from side windows and skylights as the principal lighting. Starting time very strang though: 19:30, too late for the daylight to really dominate the lighting, too early for artificial lights to work their magic.
The absence of coherent lighting weakened the spell Greco tried to cast with his two dancers Sawami Fukuoka and Dereck Cayla (in an role originally created by Greco on himself). On the other hand, the deep klang soundscapes resonate (uncredited).
Cayla is clad all in black stocking, as a shadow. One cannot even see mouth or eyes. To open Double Points: Hell, Kayla offers a kind of neo classical frenzied solo. Anticipation is high.
What follows are solos by Sawami Fukuoka and sequences where she is shadowed by Cayla. Sometimes she seem coherent, other times she seems to rave. She pulls at her clothing, flaunts her sexuality. Fukuoka’s initial oriental doll charm falls away entirely when she rips the black wig off her head and reveals the shaved head of psychiatric patient.
Fukuoka is the incarnation of a girlfriend gone wrong, a woman gone mad.
Yet strangely her monologues in Japanese failed to touch any emotional chord. I just felt a distance from someone with whom one would not want to share a space. Later when Fukuoka and Cayla dance an extended duet to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Double Points: HELL hints at taking wings again.
Yet somehow the night I saw Double Points: HELL even that duet remained relatively flat emotionally. Something happening to two strangers, a good idea unfulfilled, a promise not kept.
The existential questions about sexuality and violence which Double Points: HELL strives to raise remain unanswered and for me unilluminated. The whole piece seems a strong concept (similar to the Roland Petit’s Le Jeune Homme et la Mort) in neither original nor virtuouso execution.
Double Points: HELL is only forty minutes long and there are passable steps hence as a spectator you don’t have the time to be bored. In the end, I felt just lightly disappointed and somewhat empty leaving the miniature. Much of the general applause felt perfunctory in honor of Fukuoka’s effort and Greco’s reputation rather than an overwhelming spontaneous combustion. But the applause rang on long enough that I might be wrong.