Friday, November 30, 2012

In One Search For Identity

The summary of visual artist Hetain Patel's 'Be Like Water' promised to be entertaining. Bff had gotten tickets eons ago even though she wasn't sure if I would make it. Anyway, she wanted to go; we figured that her husband could always be the back-up. Heh. Thrilled that I went. It was good! Humorous, and surprisingly well-paced, Hetain Patel performed, alongside fellow dancer Yuyu Rau, who also translated for Patel as he spoke, reading out in English. Themes of definitions of self and identity loomed in a movement that's part theatre, part-dance, and all visual art. (Read The Guardian's review.)

In an interview with Royal Opera House, Hetain Patel had said,

A lot of the visual art that I’ve shown has drawn on assumptions about my identity. As such, TEN was about me speaking in my own voice to express my Englishness on stage. In this piece, I want to do the opposite. I want to speak in every voice I can that isn’t my own in order to challenge some of these assumptions. In a light-hearted, humorous way, I try to unstick the definitive ideas we have about our own identities and what we might project onto other people.

Musician Ling Peng played the erhu in accompaniment to the stage action. Admittedly, I'm not fond of the sound emitted by the erhu (二胡). It's a little, how should I put it, somewhere between grating and eerie. Inspired by Bruce Lee and Spiderman, Patel did all the crouching really well. Heh. All gazing intensely into the distance. Glad to see Yuyu Rau's solo too. I was wondering if she would be dancing more. Was happy when she did.

Many plays and art explore self and identity. The theme is common, however, audiences look for how an artist brings that out in his art. The idea of the journey in the search of self and the formation of eventual identity, and further evolvement was strongly portrayed here in not just the spoken languages that weren't English, but also present in the multi-layered mesh of movement and videos. The format worked well in the setting of a cosy studio. It was absolutely enjoyable. Couldn't go straight to bed after. Had a drink with the bff to chat about it, and took a lovely long walk back to the flat in the not-cold night.


ame said...

the short clip was so good!

imp said...

ame: you'd have enjoyed this show!