Wednesday, August 23, 2006


I'm just in, dear reader, from an afternoon on the fringe. Well, I say an afternoon, I only saw one thing... I met up with my old friend Robin in the city centre and two of his pals, Colin and André. Robin will be staying with me here in Edinburgh until the end of the week. We had a bite to eat; cake for me, salads for the others. Health freaks...!? From there, we made our way to the new town to see Ketzal.

To say it was bizarre would be an understatement. I've been trying to make sense of it, but so far, I cannot.

One could look at it two ways:

1) A bunch of Russians writhe and leap around, sometimes barely clothed, other times in strange costumes. Because they call it art, it is art, and all of life is art, right?

2) A bunch of Russians present a dance as a metephor for life, eveolution and the understanding of onesself as a being and as a species.

The audience is asked, I believe to forget all that it brought into the studio: mind body and spirit and view the piece with no preconceived ideas. Forget what's normal, what's abnormal. See life forms develop, change, become self aware, commit crimes, feel guilt, reproduce, experience jealousy and loss, from birth to death, from ameba to human being.

It really was, however one perceives it, quite fabulous.

I enjoyed the references to crucifiction, paganism, rape and motherhood. I whooped as the chicken like creature, after raping the flower, began to discard its feathers. I collected one at the end of the performance as a momento. Another highlight was the aqua-finale! The stage area was lowermost to the audience and made up of a large rubber sheet with a raised rim. I simply assumed the rim was to remind the dancers of their boundary. It was not. The final scene involved the players tipping over tanks of water into the stage area, vigourously splashing the audience and aquaplaning. Quite fabulous, eding with a beautiful sunset; a large red semi circle raised at the back of the stage and reflecting in the water.

I really enjoyed the music: flower-power meets trance with Russian folk music and Tchaikovsky style peices thrown in for good measure.

I don't think I'll ever really understand what was going on or what it was all about, but watching the piece and attempting to work it out made for quite a thrilling time.

I'm still missing Brian, but spending time with Robin helped to lift my spirits. He'll be in London, now, having the time of his life. And buying more books, no doubt. I feel like a wee bird who's let its chick out to fly. Something akin to Ketzal, I suppose: change, stability, new things and old.

The more I think about the piece, the more I realise this:

One doesn't have to understand everything one sees, but one should at least try, and in an attempt to understand that which one is privy to, one might understand oneself better and appreciate better the things one does understand, the things one has, the things one has lost and the things one has gained. One cannot be stripped of everything. One will always have ones memories.

I treasure my memories - and my memories of Brian's trip here are the gold coins and diamonds in my treasure chest of recollections. They are some of the souvenirs I shall cherish most chiefly until the end of my days.


RIC said...

Isn't Ketzal another way of writing Quetzal, the name of that mythical aztec bird?...
Nice program! I envy your afternoon! (mine was so dull...) :-)

Minge said...

Yes, my pal Rob told me that Ketzal is a word for a bird.