workpiece

Anna-Marija Adomaityte & Gautier Teuscher/Cie A M A

Treadmills are becoming a recurrent prop in Spring Forward 2024. Anna-Marija Adomaityte’s workpiece makes it barely impossible to tell who the real ‘machine’ is – the treadmill or the woman walking on it. In her patience-testing marching to different rhythms and varying speeds, she is accompanied only by ominous neon lights and the white-noise music by Gautier Teuscher. Add robotic side-to-side glances, twitching hand and body spasms to that and you’ll get a sense of where workpiece is heading. If, in fact, this whole build-up goes somewhere.

Though an admirable exercise of endurance, which Adomaityte soldiers through impressively, the show hints too vaguely at its declared central theme – the dehumanising work of servers in the fast-food industry. Only her red polo shirt suggests a McDonald’s setting, with its freight of consumerist guilt. For anyone who hasn’t read the blurb beforehand, Adomaityte remains just a performer walking twitchily on a treadmill. Filet-O-Fish will taste no different after watching this solo.

Daria Ancuța

They used to call working life ‘the rat race’, but here it’s more like a dogged walk. Anna-Marija Adomaityte is striding grimly on a treadmill, getting nowhere. This is not exercise; it’s drudge, it’s duty. Fluorescent lights glare above, and the dull dissonant noises of grinding, cranking and wheezing pass by like distant railroad machinery. Adomaityte’s body gradually joins in the mechanisation: head flicking like a switch, arms pistoning in pointless motion, steps speeding up to a more pattering, hamster-wheel pace.

It’s a state of being rather than a story: endless trudge, soulless labour. Adomaityte’s walk of life, her “piece of work”, has already started before the audience sits down, and its stop is necessarily – as arbitrary as an off button. workpiece doesn’t so much examine the walking-as-working metaphor as enact it. It’s up to you how much you read into that.

Sanjoy Roy

Can one make a whole piece on a treadmill? That’s essentially what workpiece attempts to answer. This is the kind of performance that needs to be seen in person: the subtle gestures and changes in posture that Anna-Marija Adomaityte makes while marching in place are almost imperceptible, though in line with the minimalism of the performance.

The amplified sound of her footsteps creates a constant rhythm that lulled me into a kind of meditative state for the duration of the piece. Her piercing gaze, however, cut through it, and her brusque head movements reminded me of a stern teacher keeping an eye on misbehaving pupils.

After accelerating and decelerating a few times, the treadmill stops, Adomaityte timidly steps off and the piece ends, along with the hope that it might have expanded into the rest of the space. There isn’t much dancing nor any great crescendo in workpiece, but it sticks to its linear path and allows its central performer to display her natural presence with honesty.

Francesc Nello Deakin