In this life, does it matter if you’re comfortable in your mind or your body if your reality is the consequence of someone else’s greed and pleasure? In this situation, are you still the sole agent of your behaviour and your thoughts, or are you acting on the will of someone else’s desires? At a time where there is immense vulnerability in the world, paired with a mass amount of sensitivity or lack of compassion depending on your socio-economic circumstance, Dam Van Huynh encompasses all of this, creating a concentrated experience that reflects a portion of the challenges he and unfortunately, many others have faced in the past and are still facing today.
This, combined with carefully selected props that enhance the senses, sets a chilling atmosphere that seamlessly commands your attention and connects you with the dancers. As a collective, they appear to share the same burden of circumstance, and they are all determined to be unceasingly wanderlust and untamed. This is intensified by the faint use of lighting and strategic use of colours like red that automatically create mystery while aiding the dancers to personify what it is to be hopeful in moments of despair through their unity.
The strength carried by live vocals and the choice of words exhorts you as a member of the audience to actively think beyond surface-level comprehension. You’re suddenly thinking past your own modular representation of self to how you see other human beings in the spaces we frequent, in love, in trouble, or indifferent. One of the major things Re:Birth sparks you to consider is that no matter what your current circumstances are, it is so natural to want more. However, while you embark on that journey, how much can one individual bear? At a basic human level when support isn’t guaranteed, what drives you?
Ultimately, when you have nothing and the only thing you have is yourself, how do you find yourself again in the midst of nothingness? Through the nuances and brave choreographic choices, Dam is able to plant the seeds of thoughts and questions like this to grow and develop at the forefront of your mind. The consequence of creating such thought-provoking work means that there will be those who do not understand, and unfortunately for them, will not be able to see the depth of the intention behind the choreography and how prevalent the message is in accordance with the affairs of the world today.
In order to truly digest this production, you have to approach the piece with an open mind and leave any marginalized opinions you have of “theatre” at the door. In comparison to the traditional “rules” of theatre, in coercion with what is deemed as “High art” or “Low art,” a traditionalist mindset will taint your view. The mind is the most powerful thing, and your approach to this piece will either strengthen your connection to contemporary art, or it will stunt your level of intrigue and curiosity because it is simply theatrical anarchism in its most beautiful form.
There is a fine line between being daring, disrespectful, and obnoxious, and breaking boundaries and being respectfully tasteful. The Van Huynh company is the epoch of new age theatre, and it is beyond tasteful.