Moheb Soliman’s Ilk, by Theresa Madaus

Dear Moheb,

I am trying Emily Gastineau’s initial approach to dance writing. Letter-writing as dance-making is also one of Mad King Thomas’ favorite approaches, so I feel totally comfortable stealing this form. Let’s be honest, I would feel totally comfortable stealing it no matter what. Stealing is one of the best ways of making work.

I digress. This is one of the most fun things about writing letters- the propensity for tangent. I don’t know you, and that is another fun thing about letter-writing. The pretense of casual intimacy. The fact that I don’t know you is interesting to me- I know most of the makers whose work I see. Let’s pretend we’re friends, then.

If I were your friend, I would say: I wonder about the affect of your performance style. Not the effect, as in result, but the affect, as in put-on. You entered the stage in those blinders, those I’m-on-an-airplane-and-I-want-to-keep-the-light-out sleep masks. It makes me wonder now if you were invoking sleep-walking, if the image of airplane-displacement was an important to you. At the time, I only thought of blinders. I wondered how much you were acting, and how much you couldn’t see. Stepping down off the stage into the audience felt real. The continual shuffling that happened throughout the monologue- that is what felt like affect. And I wondered, why is he moving around as if he is on the edge of a precipice? The precipice has already been overcome. The edge of the stage has been surmounted (dismounted?). Now I wonder if I am suggesting that you stay on the edge of the stage the entire time. This sounds distracting- distracting in the way that it was distracting to watch you in the aisle, amidst audience members, wondering if you would accidentally hit someone in the face with your stunted gestures. There is an edge everywhere.

I liked the image of someone wandering around in the dark. I liked it against the specificity of the google maps projected behind you. Against the simultaneous precision/clarity and opacity/blindness of the google address for your home, each letter and number of the complicated web address articulated relentlessly. (This was my favorite part.)

I don’t remember much of what you said, but it spoke to me of home, of displacement, of the simultaneous immediacy and disconnect we can have with a place. I remember your grandmother being lifted from her home to come die in your family’s new home, and that resonated with me. I don’t know if she’s dead yet- I hope not- but that was the finality this story had.

I don’t remember how you left, either. It felt like this story could go on and on, like the web address for our (your) (I wanted to believe our) exact location. Impermeable and explicit. Never ending and complete. Accurate and useless.


Moheb Soliman, Ilk

Art/Road/Movie, Bryant Lake Bowl

June 4 & 5, 2014



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