"Hashirigaki" – despite of it's title, being an expression used in Japanese kabuki theater, meaning quick writing or rush – was a performance celebrated with dignity, slowed down in a magical way. The rush was left behind the theater's door.
The Swiss director Heiner Goebbels showed us the theatrical perfection in beautiful, static scenes, completed with music played by three performers and their singing. There was hardly any plot in the performance. We could see several études, composed in a very interesting way. In these études one could see and hear some pieces of Gertrude Stein's "The Making of Americans", the Beach Boys' album "Pet Sounds" and Japanese folk music. They were mostly what we could call "tableaux vivants" (live paintings) – the spectator was charmed by the performers’ movements and gestures, by the images painted with colorful lights.
The three performers were being carefully chosen – the long-legged, red-haired Charlotta Engelkes from Sweden, dark-haired Marie Goyette from Canada and Yumiko Tanaki from Japan. As the differences in height between the actresses reached up to twenty centimetres, they created a sort of a triangle while standing besides each other. All three showed us amazing versatility: concerning choreography – in their synchronous movement; concerning music – in playing various instruments, including the oriental ones; the vocal one – astonishing timbre and purity of their voices.
Heiner Goebbels is not only a theater director, but also a composer. His performance was being composed like a symphony. The silent surrealistic scenes, cold and distanced, were contrasted with the warmth of music and lyric mood of short aphorisms being said. All together worked with Swiss precision.
It's so good to see there are still people, who want to give others the pure artistic satisfaction. Totally unpretentious, which is so different from what we observe in all the trendy theater productions, which are trying to shock the spectator showing him all the anomalies and dirt of everyday life, which are being hidden under the mask of saving the world. This is the delight of watching performances like "Hashirigaki" which lets us live with dignity by giving us hope.
Janusz R. Kowalczyk
Rzeczpospolita (PL), 9 October 2004