A nylon curtain divides the stage in Out There and In Here (Croatia). Sonja Pregrad and Anna Kreitmeyer slowly roll on the floor in front of it and repeat each other’s movements. They graze the nylon with their feet before starting a never-ending generation of movement material that recalls a series of measurements exploring distance and proximity to each other’s bodies, to the audience (who are partly acknowledged, partly ignored) and to the performance space (the in and out of the title). They improvise a somewhat coherent geometrical movement vocabulary, yet nevertheless remain impenetrable. A pause with a hug and the sound of bombings in the background suddenly recontextualise the movements. Is this a comment on the war in Yugoslavia? Does the transparent nylon curtain stand for division of formerly united countries? Are these the movements of escaping, hiding, fighting, falling, pushing, protecting, reaching out to or for help? Inspired by Ivana Sajko’s Woman Bomb, a famous Croatian play about a pregnant suicide bomber, the piece ends in ambivalence with the bodies split in two under the nylon curtain, halfway in and out, before blackout. While this ambivalence was sought after, the audience remained unconvinced and the strength of the source material doesn’t come across in movement.
Described by Zrinka Užbinec as a ‘solo of many’ (a good four or five people contributed to the research and creation, among which Bulgarian theatre maker Ida Daniel), Exploded Goo is structured in three parts and inspired by photo montages. Užbinec meticulously arranges a stage full of peculiar objects: performance lights, mics, cables and colour filters, but also clothes pegs, pink and purple feathers, some green fuzz, construction parts, magnets, ropes, sponges, inflated nylon bags. She then gets naked in the dark, puts on tight transparent top, leggings and socks, sprays herself and adjusts double-sided sticky-tape on different body parts, before rolling on the floor randomly picking up some of the objects. An intentionally strange and physically demanding routine begins, which aims to transform the performer’s naked female body into a desexualized organic object, somehow in contrast (or not) with the series of mechanical noises, beeps and rattles – a deliberate challenge to our gaze, and a disruption of inscribed meanings. Heavy breathing and the crackle of the tape sticking to the floor add to the soundscape. Beneath the concept that explores politics on the level of form rather than addressing any pressing issues directly in content, Užbinec’s trained body and its movements remain recognisable as dance, and a short spoken word sequence at the end ties the practice together.