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Monday, 9 March 2015

Echoes_Magda Tuka: FIGHT, FIGHT – THAT’S ALL WE CAN DO by Mónika Kunstár

A friendly match
Laaadiiies and gentlllemeeen… Here are two ladies in the PONEC Arena!
Wrestling – Fight – War… Start the fight!

The performance directed by Magda Tuka – performed by Magda Tuka and Anita Wach on the first Performing V4 – Biennial for VARP-PA Residents in Prague – transforms the stage of PONEC theatre into an arena. 
photo: www.rolandszabo.cz
Loud cheering of the fans, clapping and ringing welcomes the audience when the performers arrive in the ring, wearing red and blue wrestling singlets, high heels and dark sunglasses. With their cool disco grooves and flashy dresses, they look rather like a teasing warm-up prior to the show than tough girls preparing themselves for a fight. But indeed they are sitting on their chairs like hard-boiled gentlemen. One of them puts nude stockings on her head, the other puts on a torn black one. (One is a tough bank robber – the other an even tougher terrorist?) The bell is ringing, calling them for the fight, the lights go out, and they start to wrestle in the dark. We cannot see their bodies, only hear the sounds of fight. The bell is ringing and the lights go up again, signaling the end of the first round. 

When the song We Are Family begins to play, it seems this is actually a friendly match. There is a clothes rack with some costumes in the back of the stage, where the girls dress up and undress from time to time. They put on colorful overalls with sequins, with a hint of ABBA feeling, and they start to act like school girls in a catfight. A little bit of pushing, some holds, a few kicks also happen during the dance scene. It looks as if there is a bit of a spat at the party.

They undress and get dressed again, and in between the phases they are carrying the requisites of the next scene on stage, in tight pencil skirts and unbuttoned shirts. They sit down facing each other, put their hands into an arm wrestling position, and in the meantime they are comfortably smoking a cigarette. There is a screen behind them, where we see them in a film. They are wrestling on the streets, around town, wearing clothes like secretaries. Would there be so much tension lurking secretly in the relationships of the girlfriends? 

The seriousness of the theme intensifies from round to round. When the song Sag Mir Wo Die Blumen Sind by Marlene Dietrich starts to play, we are already beyond wrestling, struggle for survival and everyday fights – we are at war. A mermaid tiptoes on stage in a blue wig and a glittering long skirt. Her mermaid dress blocks the free movement of her feet. She hugs some yellow roses to her half-naked body, and passes the flowers (is it a symbol of peace or grief?) on to the audience. What could do a woman in a war? The little mermaid is standing with determined eyes, with quiet resistance. She hugs her single treasure, her flowers nervously to her body, while the other girl is dancing around her in a Hitler Youth uniform.

After the serious part, the fight is supposed to get fierce as well. They wrap towels around their hips, put some chalk on their hands, a few holds, constrictions, and I am getting excited, because now, at last, finally I get to see the result of this movement experiment…  But they don’t get ferocious in the first round; they need a little bit more chalk. The bell rings again, and they pour all the chalk on themselves, but their movements still contain feminine tension. The experiment is interesting, but it doesn’t cross the boundaries. The two beautiful bodies remain a feminine, delightful sight.

There might be something behind this sleaziness. What seems trivial to me at first sight, must have something more into it – I really hope so. I fight, I resist, am I showing violence against violence?

The end is clearly undecided. Maybe it leaves a feeling of deficit first, but actually it is just enough. „That’s all we can do”, because this was indeed just a friendly match.
Mónika Kunstár – KÖM by L1 Association

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