Barak Marshall’s “Rooster”

Posted on 05 February 2010 by Deborah Friedes Galili


Video: Barak Marshall’s Rooster

Another guest at International Exposure 2009, Talia Baruch, covers the San Francisco-area dance scene for her blog GoSee– Dance. She wrote some reviews of dances she saw here in Israel in December for her website and is generously sharing them here on Dance In Israel.

Talia’s third article is about Barak Marshall’s Rooster, which was a hit at both Tel Aviv Dance 2009 and International Exposure 2009.  Read below to learn more rich background about Rooster and to hear Talia’s take on the work.

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International Exposure 2009 — Suzanne Dellal Center | Barak Marshall

By Talia Baruch

ROOSTER

Co-production of Israeli Opera and the Suzanne Dellal Center

Choreography: Barak Marshall | Costume Design: Maor Zabar | Set Design: Sergey Berezin | Lighting Design: Felice Ross | Photography: Avi Avin & Kfir Bolotin | Guest Artist: Margalit Oved | Soprano: Lilia Gretsova | Review & Copywriting: Talia Baruch

This dance-theater piece is based on I.L. Peretz’s Bontsha the Silent, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and on stories from the Bible and Yemenite folklore.

“Here on earth the death of Bontsha the Silent made no impression at all. Ask anyone: Who was Bontsha, how did he live, and how did he die? Did his strength slowly fade, did his heart slowly give out, or did the very marrow of his bones melt under the weight of his burdens? Who knows?

Bontsha was a human being; he lived unknown, in silence, and in silence he died. He passed through our world like a shadow. When Bontsha was born no one took a drink of wine; there was no sound of glasses clinking. When he was confirmed he made no speech of celebration. He existed like a grain of sand at the rim of a vast ocean, amid millions of other grains of sand exactly similar, and when the wind at last lifted him up and carried him across to the other shore of that ocean, no one noticed, no one at all.”

I.L. Peretz, from Bontsha the Silent

After watching a bounty of dance performances back-to-back at the 2009 International Exposure Dance Festival/Suzanne Dellal Center, it was Rooster that hit home and made me go see the show a second time the following week.

Barak Marshall’s Rooster. Photo by Kfir Bolotin.

Rooster opens with the night chirps of grasshoppers and ends with the twitter of morning birds.  The events unfold in & out one night.  One night that digests interactions in a Kafkan sequence, that throws in the mix Theater of the Absurd, Vaudeville and Greek Mythology, that reels in Balkan, Gypsy, Middle-Eastern and American-Yiddish tunes, all mashed up into one burning stew.

The show reveals a man’s subconscious stream of thoughts under the spell of a dream.  And trailing through this flow of feverish thoughts is the vivid image of the Rooster, which also means Gever (“man”) in Hebrew.  The allusion to the story of I.L. Peretz’ Bontsha the Silent, implies Barak’s appeal for self-assertion: “trust your desires and act on them.”

The Rooster, with its flamboyant erected cockscomb and fluttering feathers — pecking, idling, roosting, kakadoodledooing — mirrors the villagers: their rapacious jealousy, pestering gossip, vaunting vanity.

And in all that chaos of color and cruelty and caring, of plucked feathers, warm embraces and longing to our womb roots, there lays the connection between hen and human. Being chicken — fearful; plucking feathers — slaughter; Tarnegol Kaparot — sacrifice (the Jewish ritual of sacrificing a rooster for atonement); and the forever existential loop: Which came first, chicken or egg?

Barak Marshall’s Rooster. Photo by Avi Avin.

Barak Marshall was born in Los Angeles to a Yemenite Israeli performer — Margalit Oved — founder of the Inbal Theater Dance Company. Barak, a true auteur, nursed on the rich brew of his cultural diversity. In his creative work, he draws themes, flavors and voices from the exotic ingredients that nourish his roots. He peppers his staged art with implied Jewish heritage, Yemenite folklore and biblical text, like the excerpt noting the twelve tribes (this piece is written for twelve dancers).

Barak created Rooster for the 2009 Tel Aviv Dance Festival, after the great success of his former piece — Monger — featured at the 2008 Tel Aviv Dance Festival.

Talia Baruch is a writer and translator covering the dance/theater scene in San Francisco, where she has been living for the past 11 years. She is the founder of Copyous, providing creative copywriting and Localization Strategies. The ingredients that shaped her life are the explosive dance scene in urban Tel Aviv, where she grew up, the pea-green English country side, where she inhaled a handsome amount of fresh-manure & horseback-countered through endless woods, and the 24/7 Localization/Internationalization business bustle, that put perspective to it all. www.copyous.com

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    1. 24700 » Blog Archive » Winter Dance Concert 2010 Says:

      [...] During the concert, the school’s dancers also premiere Little Sisters, a new work by choreographer and CalArts faculty member Rosanna Gamson; an excerpt of Juncture (1999) by Daniel Charon; and an excerpt from Israeli American choreographer Barak Marshall’s high-speed physical-theater work Rooster. [...]

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