HANUMAN ADDICTION CYCLE – preview critique
10.05. 2019

The dancer and choreographer Jan Jakubal transforms abstract themes into something physical directly on stage. The dark and mystical performance "Hanuman Addiction Cycle" saw its preview in Vienna on April 3rd in Off Theater and it had been created in collaboration with the Finnish puppeteer Niina Lindroos, and two Czech artists - the composer Jan Čechtický and the animator David Vrbík.

Jan Jakubal draws from brain thought processes. The brain produces about 50 000 thoughts per day, aimlessly and incoherently. The key metaphor here is based on the supernaturally gifted Hindu god Hanuman whose visage transforms perpetually. “If every thought is a branch of a tree, the attention of our consciousness is a monkey jumping from one branch to another, or from one thought onto another thought.” A truly beautiful image of a fascinating performance where objects come to life and dance.

Sharing the dimly lit stage are the Finnish actress Niina Lindroos and Jan Jakubal, as well as several objects backed with often ominous music and video animation woven with the performers' bodies, refining their forms and creating silhouettes on the background wall of the stage. One of the creatures, nearly indistinguishable in the dim light, fights the objects while the other slowly disappears in skirts and aprons as if they were a cocoon. All these figures remain truly multifaceted at all times, making useful alliances while acting as malicious pest towards each other, thus forming roots of the later emergence of the winged creature Hanuman. Metamorphosis is a major theme of this performance: live objects are both instruments of torture as well as instruments of a connection between two performers. They represent both the animal and the human, good and evil and although resembling zombies are still very much alive.

Light plays a vital part in the performance too. Jakubal dances with wooden partners, broken chairs tied with yarn and with his black hood is a prime entrant on a journey to the afterworld, a victim, a culprit and an ally all at the same time. Within sophisticated choreography Jan Jakubal dances captured among the objects, restrained in a web of tied up arms and legs. Amidst the odd spring twist of events are butterflies swarming on the wall of the stage, sticking onto the actresses legs only to immediately return to a turbulent fight. This somehow represents the whole 45-minute performance. The balance of the intellectual and the physical is accentuated with the phenomenal use of Jan Jakubal's physicality. Diving into the blurry darkness and uncertainty is so easy for me and I thoroughly enjoy the metamorphosis and gentle humour. It wouldn't be possible without impeccable coordination of light, animation, music and performance on stage.

Ditta Rudle -

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foto: Misha Pekárek foto: Misha Pekárek