The Artifically Constructed
Spanish performer, Pere Faura, was delighted when invited to Dublin Dance Festival 2017 to present a new work. Only he didn’t have a new work to present at the time. Confident he’d come up with something, he titled his then unborn performance “Striptease” because it sounded like something that would get people’s attention. Now, months later, on the stage of the Project, “Striptease” finally makes its appearance, and in the raunch stakes it’s nothing that would give Magic Mike any cause for concern. Not much to show in the original choreography stakes either. Indeed, it could be argued that Faura is trying to pull something of a fast one passing off “Striptease” as a show. With its fast/slow re-enactment of Demi Moore’s striptease from the movie “Striptease,” replete with modified rat pack costume, followed by a lecture on the deconstructed dynamics of stripping, and a deeply disingenuous final reveal, “Striptease,” wouldn’t look out of place on the guest lecture circuit. Thankfully Faura didn’t go that route. For to have done so would be to have deprived Dublin Dance Festival of possibly the most charming, disarming and delightful show of the festival.
Faura’s humorous and insightful interrogation of striptease doesn’t confine itself to the act of stripping, it’s also a commentary on the nature of voyeurism. In his wonderfully audience deprecating manner, Faura looks at the many binary opposites that inform striptease; anticipation of the fantasised ideal and the visual reality, look but don’t touch, the distinctions between the body as dancer and sex object, the distance between art and sex. If the language sounds all too often like a sales pitch on an arts grant application, with about the same erotic intensity, Faura still manages to offer one of the best definitions of post-modernism to be had anywhere. Yet its final reveal doesn’t play fair, for the audience were never looking at what Faura claims they were looking at. If striptease is an artificial construction of the erotic, then “Striptease” is an artificial construction of an artificial construction of the erotic, and, like the space between intimacy and distance, the gap is immense.
Witty, wise and wonderfully entertaining, Faura ensures “Striptease,” by the sheer force of his personality, engages from the outset. It may be simple in structure, but it’s also a lesson in what imagination can do. Faura hoped “Striptease” would get people’s attention. That it most certainly does.
“Striptease” by Pere Faura, runs at The Project Arts Centre as part of Dublin Dance Festival 2017 until May 28th
For more information, visit Dublin Dance Festival or Project Arts Centre