CARRYING STONES @CHELSEA THEATRE REVIEW

This is my first visit to the Chelsea Theatre, a vibrant performance space and community hub near World’s End that has attracted some of the biggest names in contemporary performance, such as Franko B, Gob Squad, and Annie Sprinkle. November is dedicated to the festival SACRED 2015: The Identity Issue. Sixty artists have come together to explore the four aspects which help us to define ourselves –age, gender, ethnicity and sexuality.

3_CarryingStones

 investigates our body’s resilience and survival instinct in her 30-minute performance. She was fascinated by the fact that Virginia Woolf put stones in her pockets before she drowned herself as if to make sure that she would be able to overcome her body’s resistance to be killed. What makes us feel alive?

Before entering the auditorium, we are asked to leave bags and coats outside as we are going to see a promenade production. We are guided towards the centre of the studio space that is dominated by two piles of stones, one entailing a pool of water in the middle. Images of colourful stones are projected onto the first pile of rocks as the performer is moving around the room naked but this does not seem odd or uncomfortable, actually it appears rather natural. The room is fairly dark, intensifying the sound of stones clicking together. Madeleine stops in front of audience members, looking at them. Then she walks through the first pile of stones as the projection now covers her body. Madeleine begins picking up stones, handing them to members of the audience or places them directly in front of people. Eventually she is walks over to the pool of water where she is trying to drown herself but her body is fighting for its survival and she emerges over and over again, gasping for breath, unsuccessful in the endeavour to end her life.

Madeleine Botet de Lacaze’s performances focus “on the body’s relationship to identity, belonging and presence”. By creating interdisciplinary performances she attempts to question our perception of corporality. Madeleine says that her work is strongly inspired by astrology which she haS studied thoroughly. I can’t truly relate to this aspect of the production because my knowledge of astrology is very limited. However, I find the performance intriguing with a number of very strong and also beautiful images that evoke intense emotions but are also thought-provoking. 4/5

Review written by Carolin Kopplin.

Carrying Stones was shown on Sunday 15th November at the Chelsea Theatre as part of this year’s SACRED Festival. For more information on the artist, visit here…

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