because the personal is cultural
Once they have completed their task, Gayer takes his position behind the console and Lourdais molds the wires left in the corner with his feet. There, he gathers himself, first resting his hands on his ribs, then on his pelvis. When he is ready, he walks backwards to the opposite corner, so slowly that I have time to notice an insect also walking on the stage in the distance. From my perspective, Lourdais is facing me and moving away; to the other half of the audience across the room, he has his back to them and he is getting closer. When the sound becomes so loud that it begins to be painful, Lourdais shakes while I use the ear plugs that were given to us upon entrance. We come to expect the same sluggish pace as in Milieu de nulle part, Lourdais’s last show.
But no. Once Lourdais has crossed the stage, he switches gears, goes back to the regular speed of a task-based approach as he slides all the wires across the floor with one push – he just laid them down! – and Gayer takes his shirt off before lying down on the ground in their place, a microphone by his face. Lourdais takes the nest of wires and buries Gayer under it. This tableau takes place in relative silence, but I don’t remove my earplugs. I can hear my tinnitus and my breathing, like I’m wearing a diving suit. It seems appropriate for Lourdais’s work. I can also hear Gayer’s amplified breathing. It sounds as loud as mine.
Once Gayer has rolled out of his hiding place, Lourdais pulls on one of the wires until it snaps and he falls back with a scream as the lights go out. He taps his shoes against the floor so forcefully it almost looks like flamenco. His arms sway by his side as he walks in a style that’s reminiscent of Broadway. And then there’s something of Flashdance in the way he displays his body as he flies past the audience on both sides of the room. “Want some ‘real’ dance?” Lourdais seems to say. “Well, here it is!”
With each section of La chambre anéchoïque, Lourdais metaphorically lays down his wires before yanking them out from under us, requiring the audience to constantly get used to a new register. Whether these breaks strengthen the work or weaken it is a question each audience member can only answer for themselves.
June 2-4 at 9pm
Tickets: 34$ / 30 years old and under: 28$
has an MA in Film Studies and works in contemporary dance. His fiction has appeared in Headlight Anthology, Cactus Heart, and Birkensnake.
s.verstricht [at] gmail [dot] com