|Andrea Isasi in L'extimité|
According to its Majorcan-born, Madrid-dwelling creator Andrea Isasi, L'extimité deals "with humor, the micro and macro, intimacy, inside, outside, yours, mine, mine and ours, ours and yours, here, there, the individual, the collective, and the memory..." and much, much, more.
In less than an hour, mind you.
If that description means everything and nothing, or falls somewhere in between the two, and you're okay with that, then you're probably in the right frame of mind to appreciate the work, which is as much a piece of performance art as it is a theatrical one. And though L'extimité might cause a viewer to wonder exactly what the difference is between the two, that's something I can't really discuss- you'll have to figure that out on your own.
Standing in front of a fan placed on the floor dressed as Superwoman, red cape and dark hair billowing behind her, Isasi begins with a series of poses frequently used by bodybuilders to show off their stuff. From there she flies off into multiple directions, sometimes simultaneously. As she speaks in English a voice simultaneously translates the words in Spanish over speakers, sometimes ahead, sometimes behind, making it difficult to follow either. The net effect is one of only being able to understand what's being said if you listen to it as a conflation of the two languages (it helps to understand Spanish), or can hear them juxtaposed (see above for those themes, compañeros). Soon Alba Alonso rises from the audience and begins to sing. And she sings beautifully. What she's singing, I couldn't tell you, but she's enjoying herself immensely, and Andrea is enjoying Alba, and we in the audience are enjoying their enjoyment and really no one knows where any of this is headed, and then Andrea decides she doesn't want to be Superwoman anymore- it's too confining, so she takes off the boots, the tights, the cape, the shorts, all of it, in favor of a simple black linen dress. A dress in which she can move around.
And the room goes silent.
But there's more she needs to do, including taking the measure of distances and relationships between distances and time and everything in between, and do you know what? All you need is love. Really. All you need is love, but what that really means, when you break it down, can mean many, many things depending on what syllable you stress when you sing the song. And when you change the song into a plea, or a scream, the meaning of the words takes on an entirely different tone. It can feel menacing, scary. But it's love. And that's all you need, even if hearing it this way makes you feel differently. Or just different. Different in a way you never thought about before. It's so different, in fact, you might want to just lose yourself and just jump and down, and hug people, and really, that feels better when there are others doing it with you, don't you know? So get up there and jump up and down and hug that other person, because all you need is love and there is something so decidedly uncynical about how Isasi is putting all of this together that what could be trite in the hands of a less-gifted performer turns into a small magical moment that envelopes the room. And she's so satisfied at having achieved this, she walks out the door, leaving us sad because more would have been nice. Really.
L'extimité plays at the San Francisco Fringe Festival thrice more- September 13 at 9:00 PM, Septmber 15 at 1:00 PM (performed in Spanish), and closes the San Francisco Fringe Festival on Sunday, September 16 at 6:00 PM. Recommended.