Idit Herman performs in Oryan Yohanan's "Plan to Take Time Offf from Myself.".
(photo credit: Courtesy)
‘A moment before he died, I could see where it was leading to. I froze, yet the world around me kept moving... but I could do nothing.”
On stage, Idit Herman stands wide-eyed, facing the audience, dressed in a faded red cocktail dress, bare feet, hair disheveled. She describes the moment that her husband and partner, Dmitri Tolpanov, died on their company’s tour to India over three years ago. “I felt like being sucked into a void.”
Herman is a strong performer and a tough lady. She kept managing Klipa and revived and recently expanded the company’s activities. Yet, she stopped performing until Oryan Yohanan, a friend, prominent dancer and budding, interesting choreographer, encouraged her to venture into a common project.
Younger, level-headed Yohanan is on stage in a supporting role and lets Herman take center stage. In recent years, Herman often helped Yohanan. Now they have switched positions.
Exposing her fragility and getting ready to face and fight her demons, Herman is supported by ingenious set design. The entire stage was covered by sheets of cleverly lit bubble wrap (patzpatzim in Hebrew). Yohanan, positioned stage left, sews together long pieces of material cut from an enormous roll of bubble wrap and uses it throughout the evening to depict an array of emotions that serve as support, refuge, consolation or heavily secured cocoon, before it’s time to fly again. One could not imagine a single, simpler, more versatile prop that could better portray and accentuate visually the essence behind the whole venture. Herman is allowed a controlled setup during her healing and when leaving her void behind.
Later, in an abrupt stylistic and thematic switch, Yohanan – up to now a demure, assured and attentive friend to Herman – apparently needs to deal with her own void. In her mind she practices endless positions of various shapes and forms that haunt her. The next minute, she hectically performs endless strings of variations and dazzles the viewers.
The problem, she says, is that the moves which clutter her mind cannot be projected outside, while the impressive moves she actually performs leave her empty inside.
The performance, defying stylistic definition, is loaded with text. Some of it borders on clichés used in similar situations. Self-critical Herman is very much aware of it, steps out of her stage character, and finds an alternative nuance with humor and an uninhibited, true sense of honesty by which to get back on track.
It was a pleasure to see Herman again, stronger and fully motivated. Yohanan is a sharp dancer with distinction. Yet presenting her “void” vis-a-vis Herman’s has been dramaturgically problematic and, presented concurrently, overshadowed her colleague at a wrong moment. Yet this work of great beauty and deep sentiment is a worthy opening act for the new Klipa 37.
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