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Bytom 2008 - "Geisha" by LeeSaar Company
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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Jul 10, 2008 1:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Bytom 2008 - "Geisha" by LeeSaar Company

Geisha from Israel via the USA

by Natalia Wilk

The predictability of „Geisha” by the LeeSaar Company, formed by Lee Sher and Saar Hariri, two Israelis, now based in New York, left me only to try to analyse the work and look for a deeper meaning or connections between the characters. And I think there are some. The key lies in the title – each of the three people are geishas.

The first, Jye-Hwei Lin, reminds me of a geisha, not only because of her asian complexion, but more because of her body and its movements of amazing quality. So, it is not even the half-nudity making me think about a geisha but the precision, balance and fluidity of the movement. Jye's body seems to search for some interior curves or circles, while also provoking in a concrete, sexual way. With the sharp and decisive way she moves, her body creates meaning.

The second performer, Lee Sher, is a showbiz geisha. In a cheap dressing gown, a kind of kimono, she presents a kitsch image which grows with the strong opposition between the Hebrew language that the popstar uses and this plastic image. Its like mixing the sacred with the profane, where the sacred is the dead language used to express holy words. And the lack of complicated movements might signify a kind of emptiness.

The third artist, Saar Harari, is a reflection of the first. Why can't a man be a geisha? It's worth saying that the analogous relation between these two characters dictates the similarities in movement born in particular parts in body and in their clothes - they are both in jeans, a kind of unisex dressing. They do not touch each other at any time, so there is no close relationship. Rather, they observe each other, reacting with movements, as if looking in a mirror. This reflection shows that the man's body might be false and venal like the woman's.

The predictability and repitition of “Geisha” does lead to boredom with what we see on stage. However, the thoughts that it generated about the context of the characters provides some value.

A final comment: The photographers took hundreds of images of the half-naked Jye, both when she was stretching her slim, subtle body or in uncontrolled wildness. Her nakedness kept their attention, leaving everything behind.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Jul 10, 2008 1:58 pm ]
Post subject: 

Crying from the pain of acting.

Lee Sher talks with Natalia Wick

Lee Sher is an artist, actress, dancer from Israel. Now working in USA, she uses a physical acting method in her work, and organises workshops in this area during the first week of XV dance conference.

Those who were fortunate to choose Lee Sher's workshops can learn something very unusual. If you have been exhausted, or even devastated, taking part in other actors' workshops, you should really try what Lee proposes. As she explains, the actor shoudn't express themselves intellectually; sometimes it is difficult to step into the role you are playing. For Lee, the unfailing and magical way to solve these problems is through physical expression, speaking through your body, locating a sense of your words inside your organism and just getting your words from the parts of your body.

So, one class exercise requires an actor to tear himself from the grip of four colleagues, freeing his legs and hands; another exercise involves keeping off balance while striving to maintain balance, by pulling your pelvis to the front. All of this, just to feel real pain and discomfort, it's necessary to stay in such a tiring, hopeless situation, to make a true statement without interpretation, for the audience rather than the actor to feel. Lee maintains that the spectator should cry while looking at the visible actor's physical work. But in reality, during Lee's lessons, it's not the audience who cries but the participants , when they just can't stand the physical exhaustion, which brings out such strong emotions. ”Now I just don't know anything,”- claims Tomek, one of the participants and while crying he adds: “I think I'm happy right now, at this moment.”

A few words from Lee:

Natalia Wilk: Why adopt this method of working? On the surface, it's a perplexing way of teaching acting.

Lee Sher: Because it helps a lot. It's just a magic for me. It's unfailing. During my education in Actors' School in Israel, I got to know lots of tools for working with texts and acting, and this one is just suitable for me.

N.W.: But at the conference your company performance is more dance than drama .

L.S.: Yes, but the background is always from acting; currently we are concentrating on dance, specifically contemporary dance.

N.W.: And in this work you still use this method? Are there any other experiences that influence your work, for instance your time in the army in Israel?

L.S.: Yes, of course. I was in the army for two years, and I use my experience from there not only in my pieces but also in my life. Some of my soldier colleagues were killed, it's something where you can't stay indifferent. So the fights in my performances, are truly fights, and I have chosen this method from the many others proposed to me in Acting School.

N.W.: Was that the reason you left Israel and went to New York? The army, conflict...

L.S.: No. I went to New York to be at a different place, to open myself for new expierence connected with dance, and for now I'm not considering going back.

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