CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE
“Has anyone ever heard silence? Deep, dead silence?”
Production: MN Dance Company and Slovene National Theatre Nova Gorica
Premiere: 26 November 2016 at Slovenian National Theatre Nova Gorica
Authors of Concept and Choreographers: Michal Rynia, Nastja Bremec
Authors of texts: Alojz Ihan, Tereza Gregorič, Michal Rynia, Nastja Bremec, Maja Nemec, Tamás Tuza
Dramaturg: Tereza Gregorič
Language Consultant: Srečko Fišer
Costume and Set Designers: Michal Rynia, Nastja Bremec, Ana Špacapan
Light Designer: Samo Oblokar
Property Designer: Michal Rynia, Nastja Bremec, Ana Zerjal
“What makes human communication and talking so special is imagination. Man is the only living creature that is able to talk about intangible things and believe in them. What is more, he is the only living creature that cannot live without invented truths. He has to believe in something, even when he believes that he does not believe in anything. History has given us many truths and taken away from us just as many of them. Truths that were dead serious in their time are ridiculously funny in another. Nowadays we are living amidst a suffocating abundance of truths that are giving shape and direction to our lives. And it is within this abundance that we, the fragile and scared ones, are fighting for our own, one and only truth. Fighting for meaning and existence has made us deaf to the point that we are screaming and we cannot hear others singing their own truths.”
Conspiracy of Silence by Michal Rynia and Nastja Bremec: a work of art that does not leave you indifferent
Standing ovations at the repetition of the show, same as the first night
On Saturday, 20 May 2017, the Slovene National Theatre (SNG) Nova Gorica again included in their varied theatre playlist the exceptional, emotionally touching dance-theatre performance Conspiracy of Silence (Zarota tišine). The work with a marked note of social criticism was concieved and choreographed by the dancers Michal Rynia and Nastja Bremec.
In creating the performance the dance tandem was aided by a team of excellent dancers from both Slovenia and abroad – Tjaša Bucik, Siniša Bukinac, Kaja Lin Jagodič Avguštin, Giovanni Leonarduzzi, Tamás Tuza, chosen especially for this production among 500 competing, plus 100 invited candidates from all around the world – and the actress Maja Nemec. The latter’s lucid speech and carefully selected strong words (the text is by several authors: beside the mentioned actress the spoken words were written by Alojz Ihan, Tereza Gregorič, Tamás Tuza – editor’s note) verbally articulated the dance evolving on the stage and expressing current (prevailing) social truth and reality … This was also the main idea of the show that the dancers studied, searched for its meaning inside the spirit of the present times, and expressed through fluid, dynamic, at times softened, at times abrupt dance elements, including acrobatic ones.
The truth, Veritas, is not one. There are several truths. Every individual being has his/her own truth. Every human being is different, enriched by the panopticum of his life experience from which the world is observed. He walks his life path seeking for his truth. Indeed, in a democratic, free society one should be free to search for one’s own truth, free from prejudice, and yet … The dancers use the corporal and mental instrument intelligently to question precisely the »democratic« truth based on diversity, multi-culturality, free thinking, and its existence in the contemporary, »modern« society. They put forward the question: are we really becoming, as the mediatically visible situation and truth would suggest, a uniformed society (a way of showing it are the non-differentiated costumes: set and costume design by Michal Rynia, Nastja Bremec, Ana Špacapan, editor’s note) that rejects diversity and knows only one (nationally narrow) truth? In parallel the spectator is witness to another kind of social criticism, i.e. criticism of the capitalist “commodified” society.This society bears the stamp of the truth of profit, inhuman and de-humanizing. Her one and only truth is seen through a profitable product, merchandise.
Man himself is seen as merchandise, as thing, in capitalist society. This is put forward with excellent irony by Maja Nemec when dictating to a dancer, as if she were a GPS device, what to do. On top of it she asks him: “Is your mind empty?” The prevailing social apathy, the feeling if impotence, are the embodiment of the mental, spiritual emptiness caused by the capitalist monster!
We are thus watching a carefully thought-out and crafted “dance-film” rich in movement which excellently captures the spirit of the age. This is an exceptional work not imprisoned by the prevailing social context but instead critically reflecting it. Not superficial, not based on mimesis, but requiring thought, reflection, decoding and connecting to social circumstances of today. This is art that wants to convey a message to us, the spectators, to society. With the final sincere direct look into the audience (the only one) they summon us: Wake up! Let’s get together! Let’s do something! The dancing, choreography part clearly shows that the Nova Gorica tandem is endowed with a n incredible sense of the symbolic. Apples hanging from the ceiling, malum as symbol of the truth. Mirrors as symbol of the social phenomenon – narcisism.
One of the outstanding attractions of the evening was the duet of the choreographers’ tandem; one clearly feels how they feel each other. Accompanied by sensual sounds of the violin (music by Diaphane, editor’s note) they fuse into one, become simbiotic; their virtuosistic, acrobatic dance elements that require a precise knowledge of one’s body, sense of focus, self-control, have a very light feeling. For the rest the dance work dynamically enacts various formations, from duets, solos, men’s quartets to septets. On the whole the most outstanding was the already mentioned Michal Rynia with his unique, consummate, innerly harmonic movement.
Anyhow – a work that was premiered in November 2016 at the Nova Gorica National Theatre takes the spectator to an entirely new dimension of social reality and does not leave him indifferent. This is clearly proved by a standing ovation at the end of the show such as we witnessed already on last year’s first night.
And yes, the two main artists and authors of the show can be described as – significant, outstanding, inspiring elements of the Slovenian and international dance scene.
Nova Gorica, 27.05.2017 | Nina Žnidaršič
One of the inspiration for the performance was poetry from Alojz Ihan.
”For a long time the writers and directors have been telling and retelling a story about a provincial boy who arrives in the city and tries to conquer it. And bored, lifeless towns folk observe with a strange hope his wild, incomprehensible desire to reach their level, to become as they are; they observe how, for this, he is ready to sacrifice all, even joy, even goodness, even love; they observe and help him so they can be by his side and observe. And he rises, gains power becomes important and finally realises that he has reached their level, that he’s become, like all of them, cold, calculating, without love, and that soon he’ll have to search for his warm victim and, with his cold, dead vampire desire observe it and suck, suck.”
”Imagine a tunnel through which people walk every day, a very short tunnel, an ordinary subway under a street or a railway track, one you’ve passed a hundred times without thinking. Then one time you enter and when after a couple of steps you should have been out, you’re still in a tunnel, in a very short tunnel; scores of people pass it in any given moment, you see them how easily they reach the exit, while you walk, walk, run and rest to catch your breath, then walk again, then run again, you call for help, you break things … but you can’t reach the end and although the tunnel is only a step long, half a step, a centimetre, a part of a word, you can spend weeks, months, years, decades in it and if you ever come out of it, exhausted, you learn that you were insane.”
”I rebelled, everyone in the group rebelled. Than the guide explained to us that cannibalism was in these parts an age-old, disturbing tradition, and that the meal would remain in our fondest memories. As to the flesh, he promised it would be fresh, wholesome, and very young, indeed, a child´s, and that there would be nothing illegal in this as the children had died in natural death; from hunger. Moreover, the agency paid the parents or relatives an exeptionally high price, and thus, with every bite, we would, in effect, be making possible one whole meal for another hungry child and, thus, perhaps, be saving him from death. From that day on, I have been eating human flesh.”
”When get it, it is alien to all, a tiny, fine seed, and because it is the only one, he starts searching for soil for it, till it, water it, defend it, steal it. Then the seed sprouts and because of it it is necessary to put up fences, poison game, shoot birds; and every day observe the growth and every night in dreams learn to love blindly; because those whose harvest will be bread will love bread and those whose harvest will be stone will love stone; those whose harvest will be poison will love poison and those whose harvest will be hate will have to love hate.”
Official photo promotional material from Conspiracy of Silence
Photo: Damir Ipavec, Urska Boljkovac and Davide Blasini
Recording of the performance, interview and trailer from the performance.
Slovenian media responses:
MN Dance Company is thankful for all the support received for this project.
Special thanks to our performers for their involvement and in-pact on the project. Thank you to Tereza Gregorčič for pushing us. Thank you technical stuff of SNG for all good will. Big thank you to Regis – Diaphane for making inspiring music and to Samo Oblokar for placing us in a good light. Thank you to all off the institutions linked below that in any way supported us. Project was supported by Ministry of Culture of Slovenia.