Where’s the speficifisfety? investigates some ways two people can enter into a danced conversation. It plays with distance, proximity, and location. Situations arise in which two people discover and rediscover their interest to connect to each other.
Lee Mun Wai and Lee Ren Xin deal with dance as purely as they can, attempting to remove any thought of performing or showing, maintaining a task-driven mentality in the vein of postmodern dance. They mention geography during Thursday’s post-show dialogue, perhaps concerned with postcolonial realities and its impact on their dance. They frame their dance within the history of concert dance. The duet taking place presently within two adjoining seminar rooms is richly layered and deeply rigorous in engaging with the artists’ questions.
Some of these questions seem a little obscure, their bodies occasionally reflecting similar alienness. In the beginning when the dancers walk around amidst the audience, their presence is both warmly welcoming and strangely aloof. They come really close but without eye contact, like fish swimming between seaweed. Oddly meticulous fish who deliberately snaked through audience clustered on one side, then all the way across the hall to the cluster opposite. It sets the tone for the rest of the work. Two people walking in and out of sync, the audience left alone to observe the situation.
Where’s the speficifisfety? seems to be a dance offering suspended between concern for the performers’ experience in performing their tasks, and concern for the observers’ role.
The performers emphasise and maintain a level of spontaneity and “liveness” in the work, where laughter, random impulses to open windows or move chairs, are allowed. Within suspenseful theatricality they are super casual, entwining body parts, slipping feet between knees, talking to the audience, pushing and shoving and thumping each other. Throughout the show was a violence akin to children roughhousing, not knowing their own strength. They came close to each other and sometimes to the audience, careless with personal space.
In the final scene the performers test their own stamina and pain tolerance, test the audience’s appetite and endurance for the spectacle of their pain. Delightful, humorous, upsetting.
In a repeated motif, the dancers face each other and look into each others’ eyes, the see-er being seen. I imagine infinity mirrors; layers of observation and reflection as they each read the other’s transient thoughts and flickering intentions. These moments of stillness and waiting, where both seem to be searching for something, create a specific sense of suspension.
Harsh fluorescent lights contrast with the delicacy of their search, ratty old dance rehearsal clothes sprout holes in exciting theatrical developments. The performers’ experience, the audience on the other side — nothing is hidden from view. But so much is unseen, so many disappearing questions and thoughts and deliberations — the speficifisfety cannot be grasped.