A horse, the strawberries and I

Choreography and performed by: Michal Hirsch

Dramaturgy: Tomer Zirkilevich 

Lighting design: Tamar Orr

Music: Ben Klock-Ostgut Ton-Berghain

Insala Feminarum Resonances Medievales De la Feminite Celle;

Wyth right al my hert & Tir na massan

Camera: Holger Irrmisch

Solo length: aprox. 25 min.

Thanks to Seminar Ha’kibbutzim

Somebody asked me, how did I come to be on stage?

It began with a garage in England, my two neighbours, a basket of dressing-up clothes and a rainy afternoon.

“A horse, the strawberries and I“

Deals with fantasy and memories from my childhood.

I return to play a game of roles, like as a child; a knight, a horse, a nanny and a princess.

I am observing myself, looking at the child I was and following the different characters I played with.

The beat of the music steady and strong, like the ticking of a clock and the pulse of life.

Time and characters mingle with each other, and yearn for innocence and the endless dance.

 

A horse, the strawberries and I

 

I started my research for this creation two years ago. It all started with my fascination with Virginia Wolf’s book: Orlando, or to be precise, the film Orlando directed by Sally Potter. I was drawn to the question/ theme of identity. The identities that Orlando experiences throughout his/her life and different historical periods that he/she is exposed to and reacts to.

I started to improvise in the studio with different roles, a large range of roles! I searched for roles that represent women in our western culture. This was the beginning of my journey… 

I felt the need to use medieval music and used this as another inspiration in my creative process.

I felt that the movement material was lacking content and did not satisfy me… and then came a turning point in my creative process. The question came up, what led me to become a performer? Where did it all begin?

The question brought me to my childhood… the answer brought me to my childhood!

Between 3-11 years old I grew up in England, theatre was present and alive all around me. My father and I were part of the local theatre group, and my neighbours also. My neighbours and I would meet regularly, dress up and invent stories, fairy tales… and play and dance.

The question of identity, and the different roles have been translated in the piece, I play with my friends and direct myself with them in a ‘make believe’ fairy-tale, and within the fairy-tale the roles entwine and provoke one another.

The chairs (6), are my props, with them I am creating the scenes, and their function constantly changes with the piece.

As my work developed I became clearer which characters I would like to play and how far I would like to expose them.                                                      

My language is dance and theatre. I developed a repertoire of movements that in parts of the piece I stay loyal to them, but mostly I leave space for improvisation in the very concrete situations that I have laid out in the piece.  Improvisation is an important element in my work, and I am able to trust myself to explore with it on stage, so there is always space for surprises!       

Today, as well

From one challenge to the next, the movement reaches the unreachable border until its coming pleasure.

There is no place for large, impressive movement, or virtuosity. The movement is small and daily. The kind of movement that reminds us that we are alive and living.

Physical moves are stretched to the limits, without indulging in the pain. Only moving forward to the next challenge. Always a place to move onwards.

Domestic components of everyday life serve as the material score of the piece, within which a kettle, an old tape machine and even a sweater function as landmarks of the movement from one daily/mundane challenge to the next.

In the opening image the dancer, Michal Hirsch, is seated motionless on a chair, and seems to be captured in a moment of tranquillity before embarking on the day's journey. Hirsch gradually begins to perform a sequence of simple actions that are exaggerated into an extreme form: chewing ginger, drinking hot tea in a completely arched back posture, or moving forward by jumping on her elbows.

The choreography evolves as a reflection of the growing burden of the daily routine, which physically marks the body, gradually pushing it to collapse within itself, while simultaneously stimulating a survival strength that enables it to continue functioning, and even celebrating the joy of small movements that remain whole within the fracture.

(translated from an article from Idit Suslik)

Auf Wiedersehn

“I met a girl, she reminded me of myself…”

A simple story of one woman, a dancer, an actress, a wife and a mother, searching for belonging, love, freedom, exposure, identity, morals and independence.
Traveling through her life story, imagination, conflicts and scenery; she fills the empty stage,
verbally and physically. The meeting with the audience provokes her to share a moment that follows another and many more… 

 

“There is something endless in a night train…”

Her ambivalent state of mind brings her to a journey of self-discovery. Where and to whom does she belong? Where did she come from, and whence she was going?

Interactions with an old woman, a military orchestra, elephants and even Marlene Dietrich lead her to the dreamy past, the actual present and the unknown future.

 

 

“I hate to be in a place that is cold…”
The nonlinear story is sewn together through the abstract elements of the piece. The personal movement of the dancer expresses her immediate state of mind and body; transformed within the different dance forms (cabaret, Charleston, Dance- Theater, contemporary and folk dance). Music from the 20’s and 30’s, serves the emotional drive of the dancer. The clothes represent her relationships, memories, dreams, loves and the painful moments of her life. She departs from them not knowing if she will ever return. A microphone and a music box, accompany her throughout the piece, entwining in the plot. These props are an extension of her thoughts; they lead her and are led by her.

 

“I’m not coming back, I’m starting new!”
Over and over again she deals with her inner conflicts: glamour and humiliation, society and solitude, freedom and tyranny. She gradually reveals herself, without knowing whether it will lead her to self-discovery or rather to reconcile with her present reality.

Hirsch is a superb performer, either acting or dancing, with a powerful stage presence.
She captivates her audience without their tiring.

Michal Hirsch is an accomplished dancer with an expressive style, hand movement
full of meaning, flexible torso, rolling over and over again on the bare stage.

Ruth Eshel – Haaretz, Gallery, Israel

 

 

 There is a lot in “Auf Wiedersehn”, romance with the past, history, biography however form the fabric of the show is made of unexpected, abstract moments (especially dance)… from  the narrative she moves to the naked emotions, emphasizing, individual character of her game, her individuality.

 “Auf wiedersehn” is being watched with a sense of participation in the honest performance, not over esthetic, touching in its simplicity and balance. Viewing and staying with you for a long time.

Katarzyna Pawlicka – Danceweek Bytom Poland

© 2019 by Michal Hirsch