TAI SHANI @ TRAMWAY
Dark Continent: Semiramis, 10: Phantasmagoregasm
Emoji summary: 🌠 〰 👻
Midnight Blue, and pale pale pink; a soft pair of well moisturised hands, eggs fluffy like a pillowy cloud. I want to take time to write this, but i never ever do, so i must hurry. do u remember when i wrote about liminality, explained it to myself and u so we could all stand on even ground wrt understanding? ye, bear that in mind now, soft at the back of ur mind while my words twist around it.
We went to go see Tai Shani's Dark Continent: Semiramis, 10: Phantasmagoregasm @ Tramway while we were up for GI. And we entered into a low-lit room, sat on the floor - level as we were plunged into pitch black and a disembodied voice as narrator introduced us all. this work was a series, we only saw one episode but still my thoughts r hot n foggy, ready to condense on the nearest window pane. a real life bodied narrator appeared to the left and to the right; the same person in the flesh and on a screen live streamed 6 meters over. and the narrative continued. slowly suddenly as the lights came up, i realised we were level with the stage. something about that eye level, dead on, no staggered seating, as a flatlay etc,,, levels levels levels matter. an enormous pink McDonald’s M, and two baby blue bacterium, puffy like clouds but heavy with sincerity; a very fine line. Gorgeous::, sculpture that felt aesthetically balanced but with Feeling; & Purpose; grounded and blended into the space. i was looking into the sun or stuck to my seat with sweat, or at least i felt like i was. And scattered across the stage were people (bodies), like a united colours of Benetton advert (i think on purpose) posed, poised, stiff, and ready. and as the bodied narrator paused, i felt them all let out a sigh, they filed off stage as the narrative continued. Still and moving, gliding silently across the stage, not quite players but something smaller. [when i sent this to Gab to read she said i should write more about the work n what happened; that this text was all affect. to be honest with you though, I honestly couldn’t tell u past what i’ve written here. as i sat at my laptop trying to remember what happened I could only recall snippets; little lines. Maybe it’s bc not much happened, maybe this work was j a feeling, a Mood™; but all i remember vividly enough to write was the affect. The rest was smoke]
This work was weird; warm and wet, a strange savoury taste i don’t have a reference for. Throughout the play, as the bodied narrator spoke (voice heavy w intention and intonation) the bodies on stage stood still, breathing slow. at times they would move, but only to change position. Midnight blue, an evening gown, tumbling ropes and crossed legs,,, a strange hand on the small of your back. beading, Pearly dots (not there but There),,, over accessorising as a conscious choice. But in all of that, a slow ooze. Have u ever accidentally peeled ur own skin? Like, a stepmother’s blessing, u pull and tug at it and u peel to far and u feel like ur hand is going to split in half with the pain. And under the flap of skin, red raw, meat only. And clear or translucent liquid oozing out of little holes. I cannot ever ever look, i feel ill, sore to the touch and deeply deeply sick in my reply. Like that but slower, softer in its response. I fell into an aesthetic experience, slow touch, words washing over me, body plummeting faster through the dark. I was glad to be in the room, smug at my choices that led me there. Like glitter as it shifts, round metal lumps, smooth and satisfying.
A part of me is scared to lean in the whole way and call it fully -`Love~, i am scared to fall into that term bc i feel like something was held back. I didn’t want full on musical or theatricality (maybe i did, but maybe that’s j bc of the form and precedence) but i also wanted something more than tableau. I wanted the bodies on stage to feel like players more than props, an agency in their movement or their stance (like, i feel uncomfortable or like i’m lying if i were to call them actors). I felt myself shift as i realised the bodies were level with me, the viewer (eyeline and position) as we were both sat still in the dark/well lit stage words washing over us like warm bathwater with no bath bomb. i think it felt like a circle with a gap, a kink in the line of it, through which liquid rushed out. it lightened in weight as i carried it. like a chain link fence n i could see through but i wasn’t included in the transaction to make it that theatrical liminality i like the taste of. a closed off loop, maybe that’s what i mean when i say the text washed over me, bath with no bath bomb - - closed off loop of text i couldn’t pierce, not heavy enough to crush me or make me feel Completely. I wanted one more component like subtitles or choreography so I could do more than just passively feast my eyes on the glistening set and half-listen, dazed by the sight in front of me. the closest i came to satisfaction was when one of the protagonists did a 30 second lip-sync to Beyonce’s Halo, loud and booming i jumped out of my skin - the rest felt like edging; intense concentration so close to pleasure.
I think I would like to watch a recording of this, i think it would feel more like ballet in its slowness, or less-distant through its distance. Bc i’d have more time to soak and stretch, feel the text around me as i turn on subtitles; feel less like it was washing over me and more like i was being hit by a wave. a dazzling, glittering wave —- 500 ft high, crashing down around me as i stand, soaking wet in the textdrop tears heavy like commas in their sincerity. sentences rubbing against my legs like silk or salt. Heavy, heavy (heavy).