The stage is set with a drummer and kit on a platform stage right. A man with a base guitar stands nearby. Another, dressed in a sequined devil’s cape complete with hood sits, if not exactly center stage, exactly where he should be. He holds a double-necked electric guitar.
Scary. We’re gonna hear some hard core music here folks.
A man at a mic, way downstage left and confronting the audience in a suit seemingly of liquid gold, stands staring. He feels like a challenge, like a serpent about to strike and indeed he does. In spoken-word French and a gravely voice he relates his theme: “We deserve more than vanishing…”
Three dancers enter upstage right in semi darkness. I can see them perfectly, undulating bodies. They seem to be generating movement impetuses from the very ground. They journey across the stage and don enormous coats that look at once like piles of garbage and haute couture. A singer joins the golden man at another mic and we are off. A landscape has been established, set before us through specificity of light and shadow, presence and absence. Sound envelops and around me, in the audience, heads begin to bang.
In Congolese choreographer/director Faustin Linyekula’s more more more… future there is elongated structure, obscure narratives, an obsession with duration, false endings, new beginnings, punk-laced music and an underpinning of poetic/political song and spoken word.
As I took notes in the dark, words beyond describing came to mind:
Excess and basic need
And from the golden mantra man, “We have no longer time”
Out of punk-mosh-pit swirling emerges downstage a solo
Do se do
Suspense with duration
Pocket of noise
Tradition with popularity
Light changes the landscape into sand or tiger hide. A duet is danced, at first from far apart then increasingly closer, then uncomfortably and organically close. Movement now emanates from the pelvis. Feet perpetually step, traveling the duo/unit across downstage and very close to us. This feels more confrontational than the golden man shouting. Their bodies speak more loudly, certainly more primitively.
There are some passages in this work that feel very paired down, like they have been boiled down to essentials: bodies, sounds, geographies. It’s like we’re watching the negative of an image. It feels too like sections of the stage are for specific uses, seldom intersecting purposes, so that when the singers and dancers do change places, the effect is startling, like they’ve gone out of bounds or into the wild. We see them with new eyes, re-contextualized and rematerialized.
There was boredom too, and my feeling was echoed in text. I was startled, guilty, and I began to contemplate the apathy inherent in the duration of a scenario that is neither here nor there and the not knowing of its ever coming to an end.
The usual dramatic arc that normally binds me to a piece was absent here. I was displaced, it was deliberate, and I am less assumptive as a result. This particular drama is in fact never done, never finished or tied up in a bow. These men are living it out, tracing it, even now. Their art is their very lives. They can lead us through a landscape of experience, a safari if you will, but we get to get off the bus.
Hope lies in their carrying on, their bodies speaking truth in the midst of boredom, poverty, disempowerment, disenfranchisement… Blessedly art emerges, in all its patchworked glory.