Festival: Isabella Cota


Performance by Zhana Ivanova

13 May 2009
13 May 2009

As the four actors moved around the stage, never noticing one another but never once bumping into each other, I kept holding my nape from curling up. I was looking for two girls that, in my mind’s eye, were controlling these actors from above the stage, like dolls, being played with in the same dollhouse, but refusing to do so with one other.


Parallax performance - Parallax by Zhana Ivanova, at Mediamatic Bank on May 13 2009. Alice Bodanzky

But Parallax was no child’s play. The time-based art piece, directed by Bulgarian artist Zhana Ivanova and presented Wednesday at the Mediamatic Bank, offered a meticulously written script, a complex - yet perfectly executed - choreography and wide open spaces for the audience to let go their imagination.

The characters, paired into two opposite-sex couples, give the audience bits of their stories through simple lines and short dialogues that would overlap, flow and occasionally make sense. Words of intrigue, guilt and oblivion mixed with carmine lipstick and tense looks.

In bits and pieces there was attraction, betrayal, danger, a love affair, a murder plot and an apparently casual encounter between a man and a woman. The gaps between these elements were to be filled by the audience, to create a story of their own.

Actors Mariangela Tinelli, Marianne Langenegger, Tashi Iwaoka and Hanin Msellek should be accounted for the luminance of the show, as they displayed impressive concentration and sharpness even when the piece became a bit repetitive, and, judging by some distracted looks and restless feet in the audience, boring.

A bit too long? I turned to Laura Karreman, sitting in the front row.
“Ummmmm. I still don’t know. I have many questions”, she said.

“But I guess if I have many questions, then it was a good piece”, she added with a smile.

The key is to approach it as a piece of music, Ivanova explained to me with some lingering jitters after the show. It’s a matter of rhythm and what you see in particular moments, not so much as a whole. She added:

“It’s more about creating a particular world yourself, and not be given one already made for you.”

Review written by Isabella Cota Schwarz. Also read her review of Love Me Do, the first part of the double bill performance of the Plateaux goes Amsterdam Festival, that took place on the same night.

Parallax performance credits

Concept and direction:

Zhana Ivanova


Mariangela Tinelli
Marianne Langenegger
Tashi Iwaoka
Hanin Msellek

Stage design and construction:

James Beckett
Isaac Carlos

Supported by:

DasArts, Amsterdam
Plateaux Festival, Frankfurt
Mediamatic, Amsterdam

Parallax is a DasArts Final Project