The performance of Forever at the Tel Aviv Museum turned out to be an improved version of Clipa Visual Theater’s presentation at Jerusalem’s Israel Museum as part of the Israel Festival. As a site-specific production, the vast space of the museum’s main hall enabled choreographer Idit Herman, founder of Clipa, to rework several former weak points, some of which resulted from the odd architectural constraints of the former site, which made it almost impossible to connect the fragmented structure.
The work itself deals with pain and abuse and their fascination, and their occasional ties with beauty and pleasure.
The audience could choose to follow any scene and move between locations, since all were short and performed in a loop.
Herman cleverly chose to open with a fascinating scene, which took place on the diagonal walkways leading to the first floor, involving all 15 participants. The regimented structure worked well with the way each performer repeated short phrases, indicating the singularity of their roles.
The best scene is still the duet of Ran Ben-Dror and Michal Herman, who danced a complex, highly intense representation of volatile male-female relations. Both are strong performers and revealed the nuances of that well-crafted scene. It was disappointing that they were performing far away from the crowd, where it took an effort to follow the detailed fineness of this scene.
In Jerusalem, on the other hand, they played it against a glass wall, inches from the spectators’ faces, where you could almost hear them gasp for air. Another debatable decision was placing fine dancer, Oryan Yohanan, on the lower floor to perform her solo, away from the main action.
The rest of the scenes that received center stage were all variations on violent affairs, such as rape, stabbings, beating, hair pulling, etc. Unfortunately, the scenes were too kitschy, played seriously as realistic theater, which made them look flat and quite grotesque.
Too many shouts and kicks and stereotypical representation of violence canceled any chance to connect with the one-dimensional acting.
The wonderful Kazuyo Shiyonori stood out among the anarchists. She must be commended for her far-reaching kamikaze daredevil acts. She gave it her all and supplied much needed comic relief.