Aurélien Bory / Kaori Ito, Plexus

Posted: January 27th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Performance | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Aurélien Bory / Kaori Ito, Plexus

Aurélien Bory/Kaori Ito, Plexus, Sadler’s Wells, January 22

Kaori Ito suspended in Pierre Dequivre's forest of cables in Plexus (photo: Aglae Bory)

Kaori Ito suspended in Pierre Dequivre’s forest of cables in Plexus (photo: Aglae Bory)

Aurélien Bory’s Plexus is, according to the choreographer, an exploration of ‘the memory of a body substantially shaped by dance.’ The body in question belongs to Kaori Ito and it becomes the player inside a fabulously stringed instrument dreamed up by Pierre Dequivre and constructed by the Atelier de la fiancée du pirate: a forest of 5,000 tensile cables covering the stage from floor to ceiling that moves in its entirety as a giant swing. Ito and the set are as united as musician and instrument: Ito is its heart and sets it free.

Appropriately it is with heartbeats that the work opens. Ito in a creamy silk chemise appears in front of a black parachute silk fabric with an amplified stethoscope that she places over her heart to take her pulse. We hear her heartbeat and the sound of silk. She takes her jugular pulse, pulls the instrument over her hair, claps it roughly over parts of her torso, sending it into convulsions like a puppet being moved violently by an invisible hand: this is the body of the musician who now withdraws through the fabric into the stringed instrument as if into a womb, pulling the silk behind her.

‘Plexus’ comes from the Latin meaning ‘intertwining’. From this point Ito’s physical play is entwined not only with the cables but with Joan Cambon’s electronic score and Arno Veyrat’s lighting. As she stands still in this steel forest, her world is crushed and expanded in quick succession by rotating planes of light. She leans forward and back against the wires, coming to rest without any visible form of support and then like a trapped, wild spirit strikes out at the cables as if she is plucking them, pounding on the amplified floor before suspending herself horizontally.

Veyrat can make spaces transparent or opaque, can pick out Ito’s form behind the cables, merge her with them or make her disappear like a magic trick. He can make the cables look like a downpour of thin, vertical rain through which Ito walks, or like branches through which she has to find her path. And yet Ito is never dominated by the scale of the set; she appears to control it, even setting it in motion like a child on a giant swing, thrashing from side to side to increase the momentum until the entire Sadler’s Wells stage seems to be in motion. When we see her naked, striated torso advancing through the cables in a shallow zigzag path, halting at each side of the stage to part the wires and step through, the set shrinks to her stature.

Bory also makes ‘intertwining’ a metaphor for the ‘dialogue between Kaori’s inner world and the outside world.’ Returning to images of the womb, Ito weaves a silk cloth like an umbilical cord through the cables to form a circle in which she stands, her head just visible above the cloth and we see her floating above the stage as if suspended in fluid, slowly sinking and rising again to the surface. Wanting to break out Ito begins to swing the set front and back like a sailor aloft on the rigging. She descends to the floor and is tossed ashore as if the ship has gone aground to the sound of waves washing up and crashing. She reappears in a long black crepe cape and flies up the cables to dive down like a fish with exotic fins. Underneath her cape she manifests a protective skin of metallic squares that glisten in the light and rustle like gravel in a thunderous tide as she moves within it. She merges one last time into the dark while Veyrat sets the storm clouds swirling over the cables. Just light remains now, a golden light that slowly fades. The body has metamorphosed and left; the instrument is still. Magical.


Plexus is presented as part of the London International Mime Festival