“We ought not speak the same language in order to have a conversation, therefore, we simply agree to listen, to say yes to our basic wish to communicate with another and see where it takes us from there.”
YES is the first collaboration of May together with Michal Oppenheim - composer, singer, vocal artist, performer, a founding member of “Giv׳ol choir”, the creator of the album “Playlist” and recently one of the participants in the opera “The general & the ocean”. The wish to work together was born after May had seen Michal perform in an A cappella singing performance with two other singers, called the “Sirens circle” - an annual A cappella evening which Michal curates. After that, the two realised that they are interested in dealing with similar subjects only that each of them touches them through a different medium and from a different point of view. This dialogue attracted them - a dialogue not based on a shared vocabulary, but rather on a shared field of interests. They got interested in the potential transformative process this could set ground to: how a specific element can transform and be embodied in another material or medium. How a physical image can evolve into being a sound, and how the space itself where the work takes place - a sort of transitory space functioning as an in-between space - can transform its mundanity into an island of possible listening and gathering.
YES is a work who wants to allow the in-betweeness to have its own particular value. Being between dance and music, is not neither this nor that, it is a precise place which celebrates the richness of this meeting.
The work starts with the two performers personally introducing themselves and the work, and then asking the spectators to create a sort of semi-circle form with their chairs, as if gathering for a communal singing session, as if sitting around a bonfire. That way, it’s the spectators themselves who actively create the situation for the piece to take place. And there, in the newly defined space, the two create a theatre of layered moments where physical and vocal experiences begin at the ground level and gradually evolve into an upright position - into a human position.
The work touches themes of closeness and intimacy out of a desire to make the body felt, to underline its presence. This desire stems from a personal sensation that the body in our western everyday life is disappearing - sitting in front of screens, leading constant long-distance communication where the physical body is somewhat absent.
In “YES”, the performers choose to present their bodies as much as possible as it really is, without hiding or beautifying it. And being simply as it is, it is unique as any other body being around it - the bodies of the spectators that surround the two. They choose to take on the weight of their actions, to contain the volume of their voices through space, becoming farther and closer and farther again until the physical sensation becomes a distant, well-remembered image.
By: May Zarhy in collaboration with Michal Oppenheim
Light and technique: Yair Segal
Costumes: Tamar Ben-Cnaan
Production: May Zarhy
Supported by: Diver Festival, Kelim centre Bat Yam Israel "artist in residency", Rabinovich Foundation