Friday, 21st January, 2011 20:00 Trafó (70')
The Symptoms
Nothing There

or do dreams go to sleep during the day?

The Symptoms is a performance collective organized around the Hungarian dancer and choreographer Réka Szabó. The members of The Symptoms are not simply performing artists but fully involved contributors, whose personalities, creativity, and team spirit fundamentally define every work of the company. Their pieces are intellectual and humorous creations mixing dance with text-based acting and pantomime. They typically use commonplaces as a jumping board, transforming them into grotesque, ironic, and often touching collages. The group works in a variety of formats, producing pieces for the stage as well as performances and free improvisations for public spaces and galleries.

Nothing there is based on the coexistence of sophisticated interactive technologies and living bodies on stage. The projected images and figures are equal partners to the dancers on stage, with whom they enter into a personal relationship. The central theme of the performance is the clash between the reality principle and the truth principle. The anxiety generated by this conflict stays with us through our lives and forces us to vest with meaning the random events of an ill-comprehended world, and to perceive the chaotic reality surrounding us as a subject-centric system that makes sense. The dramaturgy of the piece mirrors this conflict, with the succession of scenes following a dream-like logic in a space inhabited by a single object: a door that opens in one direction only. The real-time video reacts to the position in space of a body in motion, as well as its shape, direction, and dynamics of movement, transforming the gestures of the six dancers into the projection of their anxieties and fantasies, and their web of relations into a mobile abstract painting.

Dancers: Ákos Dózsa , Rita Góbi , Andrea Nagy, Dániel Szász , Zsófia Tamara Vadas , Csaba Varga 
Dramaturge: Krisztián Peer 
Interactive technology: Computer and Automation Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA SZTAKI)
Music / composer: Albert Márkos, sound: Márton Németh, soprano: Orsolya Kozma, mezzosoprano: Veronika Harcsa, violoncello: Albert Márkos, piano: Péter Puskás, doublebass: Ernő Hock, drums: Hunor G. Szabó 
Light and space: Attila Szirtes 
Costume: Fruzsina Nagy 
Production executive: Dóra Paizs 
Special thanks to: Gideon Obarzanek
Directed by: Réka Szabó 

Performed to thudding jazz, the piece plays out a waking dream shot through with bizarre terrors. Half-glimpsed tableaux reminiscent of David Lynch’s film Eraserhead morph into surreal ballroom sequences in swimsuits and spats that pay homage to Pina Bausch. Vignettes of pain, fear and sadness swim dreamily against a lighting track of eye-popping strangeness. Extraordinary.

Luke Jennings, The Guardian

international award:
Most Original Exploration of One Segment of Theatrical Language, INFANT Festival, Novi Sad

The piece was performed to great acclaim as part of The Turning World international season at The Place (London), the National Theater in Prague, at the Aura Dance Festival in Kaunas (Latvia) and at the INFANT Festival in Novi Sad.

Coproduction partners: Computer and Automation Research Institute of the Hungarian, Academy of Sciences (MTA SZTAKI), Trafó House of Contemporary Arts