The regular Nah Dran – extended edition was back in full swing at Ada Studio last week, where performers Alice Heyward, Louise Trueheart and Roni Katz showcased their current works. The pieces were unfinished, awkward, repetitive and I’m glad I went.
In the spirit of someone who knows their worth, I’m dedicating two hours of free labour to this review, so let’s take you through the works.
Image credit: André Lewski
We were lost in transit for the first performance, immersed in a future past with Alice Heyward who began the evening by inviting the audience on stage in all that harsh, unforgiving light whilst she walked among us. I felt comfortable. Heyward told us that the planned piece wouldn’t be taking take place because the scheduled performers had failed to show. She then began to tell us a story about something to do with archives, re-imagining the future and the unfinished movement. It was a little overwhelming to be on stage and listen at the same time, which is why it’s difficult to give an appropriate summation of the performance. Suffice to say, she let us sit down at some point, wrapped herself in cloth and began to dance. I think there was music and I think I felt something, which means it was probably good.
Image Credit: André Lewski
Getting naked is still all the rage, and awkward as ever, as demonstrated by the second act. Trueheart took her clothes off, put her Nikes back on and then proceeded to hand out sheets of paper detailing parts of her history as a dread-locked international development student. She’s white by the way. There was a sliding across the wall phase, followed by a playing with/as a baby doll who got into a tantrum and threw itself across the stage phase, and then a participatory listening exercise phase where we were directed to identify sounds in the room whilst Trueheart and baby doll sang something reminiscent of the Little Mermaid. The performance ended with a vigorous dance in a darkened corner to an old rock song. I almost wanted to take my clothes off, almost.
Image Credit: Si Wachsman
Roni Katz’s three-part act was perhaps the most moving and conceptually coherent piece, which is why it was at the end. The audience finally found out why Katz decided to dance, something to do with the vernacular, jealousy and just deciding to, which is how white privilege works. She then proceeded to drag herself across a mirror whilst bent over backwards staring at us, and all in slow motion. It made for a rather awkward five minutes, but it was clearly something she needed to do, so we indulged. The last act brought much needed life and sexual energy back into the room. Katz threw herself up and down on the floor as an unmemorable indie track played in the distance. It was all pretty repetitive and she held the audience all the way.
All in all, a very lovely evening out in Berlin.
Now back to paid work.
Text by Riri Hylton
Cover photo by André Lewski