About the Production
I Put A Spell On You is about externally inflicted inhibitions, which is juxtaposing the notions of private self versus a totalitarian authority. Three individuals are locked up in a space where the presence of the supreme observer is inescapable. Their fragile bodies having lost all notion of privacy are in a constant regime of self-discipline.
"The starting point in my performance is the concept of 'forced isolation' which is connected to privacy in relation to an authority. For example, if a political authority wants to generate power, it can get its strength from observation and control of the civilian population. The ubiquitous presence of such an authority causes a schizophrenic state of mind among the observed in both the public and the private space. My interest goes to the consequences of such observations on human behavior. Personally, from my cultural background in Iran, I myself experienced 'isolation' that is related to taboos, censorship and boundaries, and in Belgium I have also been confronted with various forms of 'social isolation'. The movement material that I have created are expressions of extreme forms of 'being limited' and the consequences of this on the individual and her environment."
EHSAN HEMAT (Iran, 1980) started his career as an actor in Shiraz/Iran, but soon focused on the dance evolutions outside of his home country. He performed in William Forsythe’s Human Writes during KFDA 2007, and has been working from Belgium as well as Iran ever since. I Put a Spell on You is his first experience as a maker.
GILLES POLET is a trained actor, dancer, director, teacher and image architect. After graduating PARTS he has been performing with Troubleyn/Jan Fabre in numerous pieces, of which he's still touring the 24h marathon Mount Olympus. In 2014 he went for a research on dance and sufism in Iran and from this he created his solo Simurgh and the evening long event Conference of Birds. Besides being a creating associate of Ehsan Hemat for I Put a Spell on You, Gilles is currently doing a research entitled Only the Brave, exploring induced altered states of mind and its performative and therapeutic properties.
ROELAND LUYTEN (Leuven, 1977) is a composer of electro-acoustic music. He graduated in this field at the Royal Conservatory in Antwerp. His compositions are played and praised all over the world. Roeland is also a musician-composer, sound and stage engineer working for different theatre and dance productions both at home and abroad.
YASEN VASILEV (Bulgaria, 1988) is a poet, playwright and dramaturg. He started his practice with two poetry collections transformed into spoken-word, followed by five theatre plays which received awards, residencies, publications, readings, workshops and productions internationally. Since 2015 he's been working on NUTRICULA, a physical solo in collaboration with artists from different backgrounds and locations, shown in Shanghai, Lisbon, Vilnius, Turin and Sofia. He's a contributing author for Springback Magazine and works with Sfumato theater in Sofia.
From the Reviews
“He goes to the limit in this production. He explores them. When a drone buzzes on the stage, the perspective changes too. The boundaries between observers and observers are also blurred for the audience.
One looks into the abyss. Abysses of rawness. The despair. The hopelessness. Ehsan Hemat's own experience becomes a reflection. The reflection that the three dancers spread on the stage mutates into a work of art. A work of art that touches. A work of art that scares. A work of art that clearly takes a stand - against control, political arbitrariness and for freedom.”
Moni Brüggeller, Kronen Zeitung
“Ehsan Hemat has staged his first choreography like a warning. Are we aware of the fact that our precious privacy keeps disappearing?What kind of script are we facing? I Put a Spell on You is an oppressive vision of the future transferred into dance and movement.
The drone gives the performance a futuristic, dystopian touch. But that image of the future does not seem far off. Indeed, cameras and even drones have already become a familiar part of our society. At the same time, echoes of all kinds of different Ever-seeing Eyes pass through. Think of George Orwell's Big Brother, who is watching you ... Or even more, of the Eye of a god who knows everything and sees everything, and who also judges and condemns. One form of control has been seamlessly and speedily exchanged for another.”
Ines Minten, randkrant.be
“Nothing is hidden from “Big Brother“, every emotion is registered in order to drive the individual more and more into isolation. It becomes particularly threatening when drone starts pushing the actors’ bodies. It circles, hunts them, almost slips into their bodies. The scene in which the drone literally penetrates one of the dancers by immersing itself in his screaming mouth is almost unbearably intense. The vocal cords vibrate, the suffering increases to oppressive physicality. What remains is a twitching, squirming body.“
Edith Schlocker, Tiroler Tageszeitung