Kira O’Reilly, Untitled (Syncope)

Review in Issue 19-3 | Autumn 2007

Untitled (Syncope) is a performance of rhythms, of breath, and of the spaces in-between. Syncope (meaning a loss of consciousness, a loss of place) is explored here in this dank and dark underground space, a fitting playhouse for an uncanny flirtation with the unconsciousness. And flirtation it is: O’Reilly appears slowly, almost imperceptibly, with a measured backwards step, her seductive back retreating towards us, stepping in and out of pools of light. Aside from red high-heels and an elaborately burlesque headdress,

O’Reilly is naked; she exerts a magnetic allure, leading the audience about the space by virtue of knowing smiles and loaded glances alone. O’Reilly performs a series of actions, accompanied by the slowly increasing pace of a metronome: a clasping of her a ribs, a holding of her breath, revealing to all the constriction of her muscles as they fight this self-imposed restriction, an x-ray vision beneath the corsets of old; a flash of a scalpel on the back of the calf – the red blood, ambling down to mingle with the red shoes – a literal marking of that muscle burn conferred on all those who dare wear high-heels.

A mere eloquent account of the pain imposed on the female body? Or an unsettling account of the desire for this same? This is a performance that uses the very presence of the body to perform the interstice – that most revealing moment of syncope where the body is perceived only in absentia – the present absence.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Apr 2007

This article in the magazine

Issue 19-3
p. 26