© 2019 by Yagil Eliraz

Solo Bach

     There are things that we are sure will stay with us forever: friends, lovers, family, jobs, language, home, etc. What happens to us when these slowly disappear, or turn out to be false? When these essential "eternal" things are gone, what is left of you? Is there such a thing as an autonomous self?

 

     You stop being familiar with yourself. You stop knowing yourself – the self who is yours.

Your entire identity and wholeness begin to disintegrate. Hence, the external world also looks more confusing, disordered, and chaotic. 

 

     With this theme, we set out as an ensemble to devise Solo Bach. It is a performance combining theater and music, giving both the same weight. It is a movement-based and textless piece that relies mostly on the four performers’ bodies in space and light.

 

     The evening featured two pieces that J.S. Bach wrote for solo violin: the second sonata and the second partita. Both were played live by Zou Yu, a Yale School of Music violinist.

This performance was a collage of nine "chapters" indeed linked but not through narrative or plot. They each sprouted from the theme of the disintegration of the Self and were connected through light motifs, repetitive movements, significant gestures, locales, themes, etc.

 

Yale Cabaret, 2014

Credits

     "Zou Yu’s solo performance, in which she also has to move about sometimes and is entirely without sheet music, is stunning, amazing, inspiring".

     "Giving us the opportunity to look at the figures in the piece as just that, figures, abstract shapes, particularly as Haydee Antunano’s costumes, in their white regularity, accentuate the dimensions of the bodies of the four performer/creators: Paul Cooper, Chalia La Tour, Julian Elijah Martinez, Leora Morris, letting us reflect on how bodies in space interact with shadows, light, and one another. A particularly successful segment occurs early on when Cooper and La Tour, against a projected backdrop of a tree, enact a kind of slow-mo, organic pas de deux with lots of leaning on one another."

     "The projections (Rasean Davonte Johnson) help to create visual mood—at times reminding me of the look of scratched and blotted filmstrip passing through oldtime projectors—and the movements at times entail props, such as a suitcase, used very effectively at the close when the foursome withdraw as a single, train-like entity. Another segment features movements that ape the processes of the work-a-day world […] but, for the most part, the movements in Solo Bach aren’t mime but rather, we might say, motivated behavior, at times behind white masks."

     "We must all navigate the dueling presence—at times supportive, at times at odds—of the aural and the visual, the musical and the bodily."

New Haven Review

Reviews

Violinist: Zou Yu

Performers: Chalia Ayers La Tour, Paul Cooper, Elijah Martinez, Leora Morris

Choreographer: Shayna Keller

Set Design: Jungah Han

Costume Design: Haydee Antunano

Lighting Designer: Caitlin Smith Rapaport

Projections Designer: Rasean DaVonte Johnson

Sound Design: Nok Kanchanabanca

Sound Mixing: Fan Zhang

Stage Manager: David Clauson

Technical Director: Keny Thomason

Production manager: James Lanius III

Producer: Sally Shen

Co-Producer: Adam Frank