Jesse Zaritt reviews Political Mother, a fast and furious spectacle choreographed and directed by Hofesh Shechter.
Political Mother is a massive jolting spectacle, choreographed and directed with skill by Israel-born and London-based choreographer Hofesh Shechter. This work depicts a bleak world of pervasive powerlessness; it challenges me to find hope in the ways that performance, perception, and embodiment might disrupt the kind of thinking and behavior enabled by systems of domination.
The dance opens by falling back in time. Through the haze of stage smoke, a man dressed as a Japanese warrior attempts suicide accompanied by soothing baroque choral music.
Soon seven musicians (drummers, guitarists, bassists) emerge out of the darkness, performing on two raised platforms that hover above an open stage area below. These powerful male musicians unleash pulsing chords and rhythms from their instruments. Periodically throughout the performance, a male singer/speaker screams into a microphone. Shechter, who composed this music, seems to intend for this sound to assault the audience. It does not invite participation in the events unfolding on stage, but rather pins the spectators to their seats. The figures at the top of the stage frame are all men, they wield sound as weapon. The opening of this dance reveals that an unyielding masculine presence controls what we hear and how we feel.