BIG MOUTH

"Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor's BIG MOUTH explores the process of an individual critically considering the group mentality..." (Deborah Friedes, "Dance in Israel")
 

"Im Gleichschritt, rechts, links, rechts, links, ziehen sie zu dritt im Viereck über die Bühne. Ruhig, nicht zu langsam..." (Elisabeth Nehring, "Tanz") - Deutch.

"The three performers march in lockstep Right - Left - Right - Left, shaping the frame of an imaginary rectangle on stage..."
(Elisabeth Nehring, "Tanz") - English.

"Avec une precision d'horloge, le mouvement, qui reprend a marche forcee certains pas de dans folklorique..."  (Agnes Izrine, "Danser", Fevrier 2010) - Francais

"Simple yet virtuosic, abstract yet significant - the piece leaves a strong impression..." (Agnes Izrine, "Danser") - English.

"Levi's mouth is alive, it's pain becomes intense..." (Zvi Goren, "Ha'bama")

"A complex statement about the need to be part of the collective, and at the same time find freedom from the suffocating embrace of..." (Merav Yudilevich, "Ynet")

"One of the most powerful works I have ever seen. Personal..." (Shelly Kling, "Globes")

 



 

"Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor’s Big Mouth explores the process of an individual critically considering the group mentality.  The strains of an Israeli folk song set the stage even before the curtain rises, and the tone is further established as the three dancers (Sheinfeld, Laor, and Keren Levi) begin by turning their backs on the audience and striding in unison around the perimeter of the space.  Gradually, the trio’s regimented marching is punctuated by Israeli folk dance steps – a mayim here, a three-step turn there – and eventually, Levi tries to break out of this seemingly never-ending pattern with her own idiosyncratic movement.  Later, to the swelling melody of an Israeli military hymn, Levi stands downstage and slowly opens her mouth wide until her face is distorted in the shape of a silent, terrible scream; this simple yet virtuosic act leaves a haunting imprint even after the booming music dies down and Levi’s face returns to its normal state.  Despite the tenderness with which Sheinfeld and Laor cradle Levi during their final trio, keeping her perpetually aloft while passing her back and forth, the emotion which prompted such an agonized cry clearly lingers, prompting her to leave the group at the close of the work". 
(Deborah Friedes, "Dance in Israel")

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"Im Gleichschritt, rechts, links, rechts, links, ziehen sie zu dritt im Viereck über die Bühne. Ruhig, nicht zu langsam, keineswegs aggressiv, trotzdem entschlossen. Vielleicht das souveräne Militär von morgen. Dann erste Veränderungen in der kleinen Einheitsformation aus zwei Männern in Schwartz und einer Frau in Blau-Weiß: Richtungswechsel, Rückwärts- und Kreuzschritte, Schwingen und ab und an ungebührliches Schlenkorn der Arme. Imsemimilitärischen Bewegungsablauf sind Volkstanzschritte zu erkennen-zweifellos herrscht eine Nähe zwischen einer eigentlich positiven und einer durchaus problematischen Art der Gemeinschaftsbildung. 

Die Tänzerin fällt aus der vereinheitlichten Bewegung, wird zum Zentrum aller Begegnungen, agiert aktiv und passiv, ist der emotionale Brennpunkt des Stücks: Freudig erregt läuft sie auf ihre Partner zu, wird von ihnen hin und her geworfen, um die Schultern gefasst und mit dominanter Zärtlichkeit von ihnen abgeführt. Chancen und Zwänge des Kollektivs, welches das ausbrechende Individuum gewähren lässt, es entschieden zurückholt - so einfach führen Oren Laor, Niv Sheinfeld und Keren Levi vor, wie Israels Gesellschaft im Inneren und in ihrer ganzen Ambivalenz funktioniert.
Wenn Keren Levi, gekleidet in die Farber der israelischen Flagge, allein an der Rampestehtund den Mundlangsam zu einem grauenerregenden Krater öffnet, ist auch das ein doppel-, ja mehrdeutiges Bild: Zu Beginn scheint die «Hymne der heroischen israelischen 7. Panzerbrigade» aus ihr herauszuströmen, das ganze Gesicht ein einziges Aufgehen im Pathos der Musik. Später, als der geöffnet Mund mehr als die Hälfte des Gesichtsfelds ausfüllt, wird es, Edvard Munchs «Schrei» sehr ähnlich, zum Ausdruck tiefen Entsetzens: In plötzlicher Gegenbewegung scheint die Musik mit Gewalt zurückzuströmen in diesen Mund, der, eben noch geöffnet zum Begeisterungsschrei, sie schlucken muss, um nicht zu ersticken. Im Sog von Nationalismus und Militarismusschautman in verzweifelte Abgründe eines Individuums und seines Volkes, das, zum eingenen und fremden Leid, gefangen ist in seiner Psyche und Geschichte. In dieser Szene kann Keren Levi vieles sein. Personifikation des israelischen Volkes oder seines Staatsgebildes, Individuum oder Kollektiv, Opfer oder Sieger, pures Gefühl oder Pervertierung der Emotion.
Das Bild in seinem Schreken und seiner Widersprüchlichkeit hallt lange nach, auch und noch besonders, als die drei im letzten Teil einander in freundlicher Fürsorge unterstützen: Die beiden Männer bereiten ihr einen Sessel aus Körpern, tragen sie auf Händen und Füßen, Wie echt oder trügerisch diese Harmonie ist, lassen sie offen; das Kollektiv zeigt sich zwar noch einmal funktionsfähig, aber nicht von Dauer - mit einem freundlichen Blick zurück verlässt sie ihre Partner, lässt sie allein auf der Bühne zurück. Ein Kollektiv ohne Mitglieder, ein Land ohne Nation, ein Volk ohne Emotion?".
(Elisabeth Nehring, "Tanz", August / September 2010)

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"The three performers march in lockstep Right – Left – Right – Left, shaping the frame of an imaginary rectangle on stage. Their march is calm, determined but not aggressive - maybe they present an image of the sovereign military of the future? 

Then occurs the first change in the small uniformed formation of the two men in black and the woman in blue and white: marching backwards as well as forward, the steps cutting through the rectangle frame and the arms jolting. The semi-militant movement is beginning to show fragments of folk dance that convey both the positive and the problematic aspects of  their community. 

The female dancer is breaking free from the uniformity. She is soon becoming the center of all movement on stage as well as the emotional focal point of the piece, displaying both activity and passivity. She approaches her two partners with merriment and joy but in return they grab her by the shoulders, toss her back and forth and put her in her place with gentle domination. 

The complex  mixture of opportunities and compulsions dictated by Collectivism - which allows individuality to a certain point and again forces it back into its place – is presented in magnificent simplicity by Oren Laor, Niv Sheinfeld and Keren Levi, that portray how the Israeli society with all its ambivalence is functioning  from the inside.
Keren Levi is dressed in the colors of the Israeli flag, stands in the center of the stage and begins to open her mouth slowly until it becomes a terrifying crater. At first it seems that the heroic "Anthem of the seventh Israeli tank brigade"  is floating out of her mouth, the whole face is opening up to the pathos of the music. Later as the gaping mouth covers up half her face – it gradually resembles "The Scream" by Eduard Munk, an expression of bottomless horror. 

Suddenly the music seems to float violently back into her mouth, forcing her to either swallow or suffocate. Through this suction of militarism and nationalism we are looking into the desperation of an individual and its nation, locked in its own psyche and history, therefore painfully harming itself and others. 

In this scene Keren Levi could stand for many things: personification of the Israeli nation or its state, individual or collective, winner or victim, pure emotion or perversion of the emotion.   

That image with all its horror and contradiction  leaves a haunting  imprint that lingers even to the last part, where the 3 dancers support each other in friendly care. The two men create a seat for her with their bodies, carrying her on hands and feet.  How real or fake this harmony is - they leave open. 

The collective manifests once again its capability of being functional, but not for long – with a friendly smile she leaves her partners alone on stage and walks out. 

 

A collective with no members, a country with no nation, a nation with no emotion? 
(Elisabeth Nehring, "Tanz", August / September 2010) 

 

 

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"Niv Sheinfeld et Oren Laor, Big Mouth (grande bouche) ne cesse de faire reference a la culture israelienne, service militaire compris. Mais c'est surtout par son travail sur la rigueur de la ligne choregraphique que ce trio impressionne. Avec une precision d'horloge, le mouvement, qui reprend a marche forcee certains pas de dans folklorique, delite peu a peu un unisson savamment compose ... jusqu'a ce que la visage distordu par une bouche grande ouverte rappelle immanquablement "le cri" de Francis Bacon et sa charge d'agonie silencieuse. Simple mais virtuose, abstraite mais significative, la piece laisse une forte impressione". 
(Agnes Izrine, "Danser")

 

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 "The rigor of the choreographic line is impressive with its forced march based on folk dance steps, cleverly composed into a tight unisson. A mouth opens gradually with a silent agony that resembles Francis Bacon's 'cry'. 
Simple yet virtuoso, abstract yet significant, the piece leaves a strong impression". 
(Agnes Izrine, "Danser")

 

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"…They stare straight at Israel, and cry in movement their lamentation on the price of its values …without bombardment, but with the voiceless gaping mouth of Keren Levi standing in the front center of the stage. Long and amazing moments in which her mouth opens slowly untill it reaches a great wide opening, that reminds us of Edward Munk's famous painting. But unlike the painting, Levi's mouth is alive, its pain becomes intense… "Big Mouth" is an original and daring piece, that receives a perfect performance by all three, every movement is specific, every expression clear and vivid. One of the greatest achievements of Israeli dance". 
(Zvi Goren, "Habama")

 

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"…A complex statement about the need to be part of the collective, and at the same time the need to find freedom from the suffocating embrace of the mass in order to find the personal voice… the name of the piece derives from one unforgettable chilling picture: Levi stands in the front to the sound of the hymn of the Israeli seventh armoured corps' brigade, her mouth is getting wide open…"Big Mouth" is above all a eulogy about a home that is now very far away". 
(Merav Yudilovic, "Ynet")

 

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"One of the most powerful works I have ever seen. Personal, intelligent, humorous , sad – excellent. Simplicity that grabs you in the stomach. Must see! ". 
(Shelly Kling, "Globes")

 

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