They Became Men

06/02/2007

Yossi Berg and Oded Graf mount a complex and charismatic dance-theater production that breaks with the familiar and the expected, and deals with two men who are revealed to each other in an intimate and hesitant process

Stored up sentiment “Rabbit Habit” and “Could Be Heroes”

“Rabbit Habit” and “Could Be Heroes” are two dance works by Yossi Berg and Oded Graf that are produced in one creative evening, to the music of Ohad Fishof and David Bowie. The works were produced for the first time at the “Curtain Up” Festival, the 2006 Israel Festival, and were also guests at various festivals in Europe.

The two parts of the evening form a tight narrative bond, and the surprising and original movement immediately speaks to the audience, as if it was a written play. In this sense Berg and Graf create complex expressive dance-theater, where there is no significance to their virtuoso-technical capabilities as performers, but actually to the organic movement that breaks with the familiar and the expected, and bursts out of a stage personality that is full of charisma, truth and expression.

The entire evening deals with two men that are revealed in an intimate, hesitant and gradual process of becoming close. In the first part – the attempt to come close fails and the hiding behind a mask of lies and belligerence is apparent to all. Behind the mask hides shame and force of habit. They hold on to their loneliness as to a lifebuoy out of fear of being hurt, and this prevents them from shaking off old habits, trusting, and falling into each other’s arms.

In the second part – the fantastic foundations strengthen and against all odds the men are able to experience love and shreds of truth in the mechanical and alienated world they inhabit. Their love that was censored in the first part breaks through to emotional heights with David Bowie’s song in the background; the song acquiring a new and ironic meaning – Heroes (romantic heroes) even if only for a single day.

With much talent Berg and Graf are able to shape unique characters, which are very easy to identify with. While Berg maintains a cynical, childish, slightly cruel, but also human and vulnerable demeanor, Graf is the part that is missing, that complements, that balances. In his fragile, innocent and devoted character, with Nirvana’s wonderful line “Come as you are” embroidered on his pants and signed with three Xs. The looks they exchange during the show generate a repressed emotional tension that cuts the air like a knife, and serve as a perfect example for the unlimited possibilities of nuance.

And if you are not convinced by now to run out to see the production, you should know that in the intermission between the two parts, Berg and Graf host the works of various artists such as Eli Soorani, Adi Salant, Shlomit Fundaminsky, and others. Here is another excellent reason to see this original and exciting show.

Full review 

– Michal Ba’adani , Achbar Online