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Derevo - Tanya Khabarova - Reflection (Page 72)
Drams  None  needed.
Venue  Aurora Nova @ St Stephen's (Venue 8).
Address   St Stephen Street.
Reviewer   Fiona O'Hanlon.

Reflections - Derevo Co.
Tanya Khabarova
© S.Kuznetzov.
Renowned Russian physical theatre company Derevo return to the Aurora Nova Festival at St. Stephen's to follow up their highly acclaimed 2003 ensemble performance Islands in The Stream with an equally strong - yet completely different - piece Reflection. A 'dance fable inspired by images of the Creation,' Reflection is a sombre, spiritual yet sensuously spell-binding solo-piece created and performed by Derevo founding member Tanya Khabarova.

A master of her craft, Khabarova creates binaries only to undermine them. One such distinction is that of joy and pain, a polar opposition fabricated by means of the juxtaposition of light and darkness, ritualised routines and unpredictable movement, and Sizintsev' s and Gaivoronsky's music which ranges from upbeat cabaret to eerie screeching - contrasts which are literally diametrically opposed through the Khabarova's skilful yet exquisitely simple use of stage space.

Yet it is only as such binaries are blurred and broken down that the audience realise the importance of this initial section whose jarred juxtapositions do not allow spectators to become enticed into the on-stage action but rather force them to retain a quasi Meyerholdian/ Brechtian critical distance - an estrangement which encourages individual spectators to themselves ascertain the identities and relative contentedness of the 'beings' which emerge from varying degrees of smoke and darkness. 

The fact that Khabarova clearly and convincingly represents each of these beings; her androgynous appearance and masterful movement enabling her to transgress traditional boundaries of kind and gender in order to portray everything from insects and animals to early man and elegant lady clad in black velvet dress and heels - to name but a few - is testament to the dedication and skill of this versatile performer whose artistic vision is achieved without elaborate props and costumes.

Indeed, the main prop - a huge wooden cross-like shape which serves as the back-drop throughout - holds multiple symbolic possibilities: Christian cross, totem pole, or tree (Derevo means tree in Russian.) The multiple meanings generated by this centre piece can be seen to be a microcosmic representation of a work which ultimately does not reflect but refracts, as Khabarova's Reflection on Creation evolves through each spectator's subsequent self-reflection.  
©Fiona O'Hanlon, 7th August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs August 7th-9th, 11th-16th,22nd-23rd, 25th -30th at 22.45.
Company - Derevo
Company Website http://www.derevo.org
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