Editor/Publisher, Bina Sharif
ARTS INTERNATIONAL covers THEATER, FILM, VISUAL ARTS, CUISINE, AND LITERATURE
Monday, November 18, 2019
THE GREAT TAMER: A DANCE/PERFORMANCE PIECE AT BAM, PART OF NEW WAVE FESTIVAL
THE GREAT TAMER: A DANCE/PERFORMANCE ART PIECE AT BAM.
THE GREAT TAMER
CONCEIVED and DIRECTED
To Describe The Great Tamer in one sentence or two or even in a paragraph would be extremely
difficult because its such a complex, multilayered performance encompassing life and death and all
that happens in-between. It's about mythology, mortality, physicality, spirituality and the fragility
On a vast slanting steel grey stage made of removable black and white sheets, this complex art/dance/
performance piece unfolds.
A man dressed in black walks on stage and slowly starts to take his clothes off. Then he lies down as
if he is on the roof of his house to get some sun.
Another man again dressed in black comes on stage and covers him
with a very lightweight white sheet. Then the third man comes and picks up one of those removable
panels and with great ability shake it a bit and then let it drop. That makes the sheet covering the
naked man floats away. This activity is repeated a few times and is brilliantly done and is
mesmerizing to watch.
Many more realistic, surrealistic and metaphorical sequences occur. The brilliant cast of dancers,
acrobats, gymnasts and performance artists keep going tirelessly with such agility that one marvels at
the excellence and the amazing power of human body in all it's forms, in it's suffering, in it's joy and
the spirit of adventure and surprise. Most of the time the men and women are nude without a hint
of self consciousness.
The do the most difficult movements in extremely vulnerable positions takes a lot of expertise.
They open the panels and dig underneath as if they are preparing for a burial.
They open another panel and discover water, in which they bathe. They even find body parts, an arm
sticking out, or part of a leg and now and then our concept of their location changes.
Are they in a an ancient grave yard? Are they in a field where soon vegetation will appear in the
form of sticky darts representing a corn field? or flora of brilliant yellow colors representing spring
time when everything blooms and love of life smiles on everything.
The Great Tamer is very philosophical and that makes sense. After all it's being created by a
brilliant Greek who also has incredible sense of humor and child like attitude and a sense of
innocence. Sometimes one feels as if grown up children are playing games and having fun.
Sometime it seems like as if the creator and the performers are making fun of everything serious
in life which bogs us down, depicting the delicate moments of un-predictable and unbalanced life.
At one point a performer tries to balance himself on a world glob soon to be crashed on the floor
with other performers.
Performers built and then destroy everything and pick up the pieces and put them in the garbage bags
and throw them away. Everything seems meaningless and immensely serious and ominous at the
same exact moment.
The performers, men and women don't seem human in their physical power and agility but
superhuman and then they lose balance and fall apart right in-front of our eyes.
The whole show is an unending enjoyable metaphor. Things are visible as well as hidden.
Meanings are obvious and complex beyond our comprehension.
The whole show is accompanied by Johann Strauss's stunningly beautiful, "Blue Danube" waltz
on the sound track.
There are impressions of classic European art. Chorus of actors add white collars and instantly
become doctors dissecting a nude human body, thus the representation of Rembrandt's, " Anatomy
lesson." Then they feast on human intestine which they have pulled out during the dissection.
The show doesn't have one straight story line but it's rich with many images which excites
our imagination and we create our own stories and how many shows can make you so creative,
so imaginative and so aware of the fragility of life which has the promise of destruction and renewal
at the same time. The last moment in the show has total disintegration of a skeleton mounted
on another panel reminding us of the delicacy of life and we should just be happy and thankful
of breathing. This show makes us aware of, "Breath." The last breath, before we are no more.
Not to be gloomy but this awareness is essential.