Hailing from Russia, Alyona Ageeva Physical Theatre PosleSlov present (Some)Body, a 50-minute physical exploration of the meaning within the human form and physique, with specific reference to Ancient Greek imagery. The piece is a sequence of movements with no live spoken text and one small singing part. A voice from an overhead speaker talks of Eros, concepts of beauty and love, providing a focus for the piece, rather than acting as cues for the performers’ movement – giving the ideas that inspired the work an embodiment within a performance setting.
A naked woman and man walk onto the stage in slow motion and in such a way that all parts of their body seem to be equally physically engaged, so that the audience’s focus is drawn to the entirety of their physique. Once centre stage, they begin moving between varieties of poses, limb by limb, replicating recognisable postures from ancient sculptures. The steady pace at which they move is consistent throughout the performance, yet never seems tiring. Audible drones accompany the piece, creating an atmosphere that matches the performers’ controlled slowness. Physical contact between performers is limited, which helps project an aura of sanctity around them.
Carrying with them the quality of placid statues, all six performers methodically engage with the piece in a seemingly purely external way. Using the architecture of the body, (Some)Body excavates the masculine and feminine within human form. The performers move through the movements precisely, with no attempt at emotional engagement, yet when fully physically engaged with the movement, a sense of something innate and instinctual rises from underneath their smooth, bare forms. Even though it may not be emotionally articulated, something has definitely appeared.
Alyona Ageeva humbly present what they have found, having strung it into a structure suitable for performance. Not much develops as it progresses. This is not particularly a criticism, as this suits the style and focus of piece. In presenting simply what they have found in as neutral a manner as possible, the living statues of (Some)Body organically carve a path of progress for the piece as the exploration into their own bodies expands.
A strong piece for its explorative nature and simplicity, it would be exciting to see how Alyona Ageeva could take the piece to the next level and play within the style of performance they have now established. Adding changes with the form, tempo and rhythm, and taking a deeper look into the subject matter, would do the piece good, and allow it to be more layered in what it offers an audience.