Habama, Zvi Goren

24 November 2015

‘The Poet’s Warning’

 

And it truly surprised me that between these two works appeared Lachud(im)//Separately Trapped, a delightful and original political work by Adi Boutrous who continues to successfully develop his creative talents in order to express social or political ideas, and as the name of the work (in Hebrew) hints at both the detectable and covert meaning expressed in it, to reference our current existential situation in this country, or in this geographical region. Together. Apart. Seperately Trapped. The work opens with Boutrous and Avshalom Latucha sitting and engaging in a “spicy” dialogue with phrases like “you can just let it go” or “an opportunity for a healing experience,” while tuggng on a red rope that emerges from the other side of the stage. It’s not as if they say anything concrete, but through the hinted sentences and partial words, a subtle humor emerges (that we are familiar with from earlier works by Boutrous, Hillel Kogan and Rotem Tashach).

And then, when we are sure that this long rope is even longer, and we are obliged to view even more of this amusing-serous chatter, a woman in red, furiously and violently bursts onto the stage, clearly sick of waiting for her agreed entry cue, and she is sure that this prattle is never going to end. The woman is the actress Ahuva Keren, who with a magic wand and it seems with some intense labor, has also become a dancer for this work. And she performs and dances, like the great mother of dreams, soul and body. In the act of defining Keren as an actor or a dancer or a performer, I reinforce the political argument that is situated at the very core of this work that we have an “obsessive desire to define ourselves in space… to codify others and, for those who are desirous of it, to enhance separation from them.” And so, with a fascinating trio, his work at times reminds us of the story of Cain and Abel, or Jacob and Esau – and interestingly without Isaac or Ishmael, who inevitably are on stage anyhow, either in reality or in our imaginations.

I am not convinced that Boutrous is correct in his optimistic assumption that ultimately there will be a merging here, “either in the earth or the wind,” however it is clear to both him and us, unfortunately, that in the meantime “all that remains for us is to inhabit and witness our inevitable passivity of inaction, unable to offer a counter-balance.” And thus Adi Boutrous joins the English poet Wilfred Owen who almost a hundred years ago, just before he was killed on the front-line during the last days of World War I, wrote “All a poet can do today is warn.”