"To whom with acclamation and song shall we our first toast give?"
Dance performance by Nataša Živković
Still life is an echo of three traditional forms: still life as a visual form, ballet as a movement form and verse as a mental form. Tradition as socially-sanctioned norms is a loop, the exit out of which is a priori recognized as a symptom of hysteria (an excess). Up until the 17th century, hysteria was seen as an exclusively female illness caused by improper functioning of the womb, the ascribed therapy being sexual intercourse, orgasm or pregnancy. Today, hysteria is no longer seen as a female illness and the way out exists only as aestheticized excess. In the performance of Nataša Živkovič, excess – ballerina’s urinating into a teapot – is also no longer an act of rebellion, but merely a symptom of utter subjugation and pure pleasure in being allowed to do so. This is the time of still life. A withdrawal into immobility.
Conceived by Nataša Živković and Bojan Jablanovec
Performers: Nataša Živković and Secret Guests
Text: France Prešeren
Direction: Bojan Jablanovec
Music: Klemen Bračko, performed (live) by Klemen Bračko (violin), Eva Jurgec (oboe), Mirela Rihtar (cello).
Light design: Igor Remeta
Producer: Špela Trošt
Production: Via Negativa, 2010, with the support by Ministry of Culture of RS and the City of Ljubljana
Premiere: 17 October 2010, City of Women Festival Ljubljana
Duration: 25 min
Feminism is fun, but not without a (safety) mask …
Delo Ljubljana, 19. October 2010, Zala Dobovšek
(…) The performance with an almost idyllic title is a story about seemingly charming preparations to dine with a chosen candidate; it is a narrative in which the absence of words is supplanted by an uninterrupted and very ‘vocal’ performer’s ballet choreography. This choreography constitutes the hard mechanics of the performance; with its tactical rhythm and carefully administered doses of suspense it dances through to the final ’still-life-like dinner’ with the Hidden Guest (Uroš Kaurin). Mocking insertions of folklore, impressions of immaculateness and girl-like romantic thrills are suddenly intercepted by the performer’s ‘excess’ of a perversely aesthetic passing of urine into a porcelain jug – the very jug that at the end finds its place in the function of an indispensible element on the dining table’s still-life composition and with which a toast is silently raised against the transcription of Zdravljica, Slovenia’s national anthem aptly called ‘A Toast’. The still life celebrates female sensibility, testing the boundaries of her underhand ways and subtly foisting her symptoms and dubious intentions onto the written poetry of a national identity. It seems that national pride is indeed generated exclusively from within us. (…)
When you know why you are on the stage, the spectator also knows why
Tanja Cirman, Interview with Nataša Živković , Delo Ljubljana, 14. december 2012