Sunday, September 27, 2009

“In-I” at BAM Harvey Theatre, 23 Sep2009

Directed and performed by Juliette Binoche and Akram Khan
Set design by Anish Kapoor
Lighting design by Michael Hulls
Music by Philip Sheppard
Ms. Binoche’s costume by Alber Elbaz
Mr. Khan’s costume by Kei Ito
Sound design by Nicolas Faure

Remember all those names. Everything about this production was as close to perfect as a live performance – hell, any performance – is going to get. “In-I” is a dance/theatre piece created by the very familiar actress Juliette Binoche and the, to me unknown until now, dancer/choreographer Akram Khan. Theatre is a communal art, and the community that gave us this piece tonight is stunning. A deceptively simple set, extraordinary subtle and enticing lighting design, discreet and emotional music designed flawlessly in conjunction with all the other elements.

The piece begins with Ms. Binoche sitting in a chair looking at the back wall of the set. The lighting design kicks in and we’re in a movie house. She tells us that she went into the dark to find the light and herself. She sees the man she wants to love in a movie theatre, follows him – nay, stalks him – then meets him, woos him, resistant as he is. Initially. We follow them in their first ecstatic night of lovemaking to the reality of the morning after. The story is about love in all its glory, torture, hell, wonder, awfulness, awesomeness. Love sucks. And yet. Those who know me know I don’t believe in love at first sight, but that’s what happens here, for her. That I don’t believe in it tells you how extraordinary the execution of this story was. I loved this performance, production, act of courage.

Ms. Binoche is not a dancer by training until recently, and she has entered into that physical world with great gusto. It is not unreasonable to state that she threw herself into this world 100% and Mr. Khan caught her like the deft, strong, and emotive dancer he is.
Sometimes I felt like a voyeur, the ups and downs of their relationship were so clearly depicted – except real life isn’t graceful.

I’m only sorry this piece had a short run so I could barely recommend it in time for its closing weekend. Wherever it plays around the country, don’t miss it.

-- MM, turning off the computer, really this time.

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