Marie Chouinard's Orpheus & Eurydice Oct 17, 2008

by Tania Kupczak

Something of a sexual assault on the senses, Marie Chouinard’s Orpheus and Eurydice is a piece of primitive, gut wrenching emotion. There's a heavy emphasis on sexuality. Men and women are both naked from the waist up throughout apart from gold pasties covering their nipples, and men stalk about from time to time in platform shoes with six inch heels, evoking more from this clearly mythological performance. An explicit production with a substantial amount of on-stage copulation. And one with a single moment I'd like to isolate from the entire production. A moment that made me weep with sadness like no other I've experienced in dance. A moment where I felt like a silent witness to a violent act. This moment comes nearly three-quarters of the way through the production. Two women are left on the stage, one with mouth agape. Not just open, but as wide open as the body allows. The other begins to motion as though she is removing something from deep inside of the silent woman's body. Slowly a voice emerges, a voice without meaning, which for this production is par for the course. In a circus like act, the woman continues to pull the voice, like a rope stuck way down inside the belly; out it comes. The noises that emerge are like hushed shouts of pain and the woman's body is thrown around the stage. As the puller pulls the other gets pulled. Up, down, across the stage, up stage, down stage. And no end is apparent to her need to expel this noise. With near boredom, the tugger stops leaving the woman alone on the stage, once again silent. Once again agape. And then the excruciatingly violent sex acts begin again. Other dancers thrust each other violently across the stage and our lone woman stands silent, agape, caught in a maelstrom of orgiastic ecstasy. Silent, still, nearly smothered by the overwhelming presence of carnal lust. Swallowed up, unable to scream or shout, just silent, bare, and like the audience a mortified voyeur to a fierce, rough, rugged, wild, raging, hormonal spectacle encompassing our sights. I cry. I weep, and its over. - Adam Sekuler