“Light… light… more light!” Considerations on Finite, Denise Stutz, Rio de Janeiro | VICENTE CONCILIO

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finita-denise2Denise Stutz em Finita, 2014. Foto: Cristiano Prim

 

Finite, a dance spectacle conceived and performed by Denise Stutz, was the result of a process in which, over two years, she investigated the issues of absence, loss and aging from the perspective of dance.

The starting point was a letter written by the mother of the artist, that instigated the research for a scene that resulted complex and simple at the same time. From the words of Denise, published in her blog, we perceive a procedural map: “The word, text, silence and movement. The proximity of the viewer without implying direct action, but seeking the recognition of audience affection of memory, the sense of the present moment that links discourse, are elements that are put into work in this project”1

Through these words, very strong features emerge in the scenic result:

_ The tendency to summon the audience to feel complicit in the spectacular action, always being invited to reflect on the gaps created by the dynamics between absence and presence proposed by the spectacle;

_ The presence of the word as an organic element between theater and dance proposed by the choreography, expanding the poetic relationship between the performer and his interlocutors (the audience), turning the word into a subtle dance of memory before the eyes of the public;

_The minimalism of scenography expands the performer’s pursuit to conquest the stage space itself and, finally, the entire theater. In conclusion, this initial minimalism is the very power that when at rest, instigated by the action on the dance performed by Denise’s memories, will radiate meanings for each member of the public.

The above topics seek to synthesize characteristics that mark the conception and materiality of the work. But, as a spectator, my affective considerations are more connected with the words that follow.

I’m not sure for what reason came to my mind, as I was typing this text, the last words of Goethe. It is a well known story (or legend or anecdote, or even a good lie, who knows ….) that before he died the author of Faust whispered (or screamed, or simply said, who knows .. .) the phrase “Light… light… more light.” Since yesterday, if I were next to Goethe I would have satisfied his request offering him a session of Finite. Its author, Denise Stutz, produces flashes, both on stage and on our minds.

Finite is an essay about the end (and its opposite) to engage with the issue of absence (and its opposite), danced in speech, spoken and scrawled with the body through space.

Ghosts inhabit the space of the scene, every word expressed, every emptiness evoked by flashes of memory shared aloud, every supplement suggested by the space left intentionally blank.

The scene is haunted by the ghosts of a world that has disappeared, as a powerful machine that makes us remember and often controls us. We cannot say goodbye to what we love so dearly. The ones who are part of our flesh. Here is a painful goodbye expressed. But rather than an expression of self-pity or blatant display of intimacy in suffering, the audience is invited to witness a smooth and mellow, exciting game, trampled in thought and reason.

The partnership involves a rational game, which turns the apparent lightness into a continuous stampede of scene and meaning, revealing on a seemingly simple surface of statements and gestures the true depth of exposure that Denise has proposed.

Finite has a dimension that makes sense as a title, but this only proves that we are larger than what we appear: the spectacle is a piece of the world and things that are, indeed, infinite.