Jirí Kylián, Michael Schumacher
Jirí Kylián, Michael Schumacher “Last Touch First”
I stood listening to the applause feeling vexed; so much so I wanted to call out: “Silence!” The work we had just beheld warranted quiet awe; audience and performer joined in mute reverence. The performers had conjured bare-skinned psychodramas filled with lust, contempt, despair, and pathos. The audience respond-ed in the only way they knew how: with admiration.
“Last Touch First” by Jirí Kylián and Michael Schumacher is the culmination of several years’ gestation and refinement.
Originating as a duet by that master of improvisation, Mr. Schumacher, and the ever Sphinx-like Sabine Kupferberg, it gradually evolved into a more extensive dramaturgical tapestry.
The piece inhabits that shadowy domain of the performative arts where dance, dramaturgy and characterization overlap. That evening I saw men and women whom life had scarred beautifully, displaying the courage to draw upon their past to evoke fractured cameos of people desperate to perpetuate a crumbling façade of refinement and breeding.
Some five years ago Jirí Kylián wrote in his cahier the following notes:
“The reproduction of an imaginary photograph taken between 1860 and 1900 ...