Pierre Rigal / Compagnie Dernière Minute, Press

Review in Issue 20-2 | Summer 2008

Where would art be without the sensational predicament of the uncomfortably small room? From the cell-like incubators of anguish in Bacon’s paintings, and the weird lounge of David Lynch’s rabbit sitcom, to David Blaine’s much-derided cubicle suspended above the South Bank, and, most terrifyingly, the invisible glass box within which the cheesy mime artist of popular imagination is permanently trapped: in all these confined spaces we recognise the airtight claustrophobia of the human condition. Rising gamely to the challenge of creating a dance-theatre work for the diminutive Gate, Pierre Rigal not only has the chutzpah to shut himself in an incommodious booth, he also compounds the nightmare by having the ceiling lower itself by degrees, until finally he’s pent in a virtual coffin.

As a constantly ingenious exploration of one man and his diminishing kinesphere, Press showcases Rigal’s exceptional technical strength, his control and imagination, but also his coolness and evident selfregard. As an apparent expression of surveillance anxiety, it’s freaky and stylish, with a pin-sharp design by Frédéric Stoll.

What finally disappoints about Press is its lack of rigour. Many of the crucial pressures of the scenario are relaxed or suspended at points so that Rigal can make more room in which to be clever. The connection with the audience is vague and inconsistent, and, like the whole piece, needs more thought to match the physical discipline. But Rigal is undeniably talented, and for a venue like the Gate to be commissioning work of this nature is frankly miraculous.

Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Feb 2008

This article in the magazine

Issue 20-2
p. 31