End

At the end of REFLEX4 we paddled back to the city and to a local production: the performance Lift by Studio M was followed by the concert of sZempöl Offchestra.

The title for Ferenc Fehér’s choreography is both concrete and abstract: a business-like, industrial ambience; the modern, neutral space in a lift; the states of transition, omission, and suspense; the idle time spent when commuting that gives place to games of imagination; confinement – are just a few of the thoughts that could come into our minds. The dance floor is just 4 square metres, into it steps a dancer, who has previously been loitering around, dressed in a suit, waiting for this dense, intensive journey to start. It’s not just the confined space that makes this work feel dense but also the usage of lights: all of the sudden the stage goes pitch-black, so we don’t see the moment of him entering, instead, in just a moment, lights come up on three manager figures standing bored, waiting around in the lift. Film-like cuts speed up and expand time; from motionless everyday poses and three detached characters we arrive smoothly and gradually to connection, sometimes even to intense, impulsive, battle-like scenes. The dancers, who have recently been playing serious men, turn into little boys fighting in the playground or in the arena, performing a deadly yet funny presentation of Mortal Kombat in the sand. With a swift light change, Fehér returns to the image of men scrolling on their phone screens, staring into the nothing. Lift is an associative, well devised piece, in my experience the choreography showcased a much more complex thinking in terms of movement than the previous works of Fehér with the ensemble and this is probably due to the many works he had already done with Studio M.

The band sZempöl was setting up and getting ready the whole afternoon: with them, projection is always very purposeful, as the joint experience of visuals, sound, and performative presence is truly important. I am always amazed by the high quality they represent. The festival closes with a concert, thirteen days of theatre, discussions, debates, togetherness, and contemplation finally come to an end. That reminds me, once Reflex devoted a whole edition to the concept of the end (more precisely, the dot, which in Hungarian refers both to a visual sign and the full stop), so the gesture of closing has many meanings, in some ways it also means the beginning or, even, the continuation. So every spectator shall end or continue these two weeks in their own ways, in their own rhythms.