Compagnie XY – Il N’est Pas Encore Minuit

The stage is silent. (The stage is often silent.) A man waits. A second comes on and aggressively pushes him. They fight, circle and go at one another again. Company members enter each provoked to fight by another until the entire stage is filled with acrobatic wrestling. At last they all stand, panting as a group. Music most often consists of percussion. Only what’s necessary to see is lit. Acrobats appear to be wearing a mashup of flexible street clothes.

At first, they use no springboards. Pairs of men lock arms and hands propelling a third person up to the shoulders of a fourth. Two performers stand, one on the other’s shoulders with a third acrobat somersaulting on top, making a tower of three. The airborne artist flips backwards or forwards. Those on top do handstands and headstands. They land right-side-up, upside-down, on their stomachs or feet. (Most of the time.)  One especially limber woman lands in a split.  Those not directly involved toss one another around, mill, or execute in sync dance steps.

When springboards are brought on, flips increase, human towers rise. Acrobats descend in fluid, sliding fashion or head over heels. Occasionally percussion includes a tune. All too brief Jitterbug is a hoot. The large group moves across an empty stage as if a single organism. Focus is otherwise completely splintered. Square boards are utilized to raise a group of performers an additional level higher.

Only once during endless repetitions and lengthy filler does humor emerge with a particularly original configuration and visible expressions. The company lifts a circle of arm over arm men on a platform. Women step away. (This is an equal opportunity company. Women are not only flipped but support one another.) An acrobat ostensibly supposed to leap up, cannot, despite being reached for. Frustrated, he eventually climbs on, executing a headstand on another man’s head. Those on the platform slowly circle in a kind of Hora. Those holding the platform then do likewise. The supporters circle on their knees. They then turn out, holding the platform behind their necks, on upper backs. At last they lay down. Acrobats balanced on top remain vertical. (This formation is also skillfully executed without a platform.)

A parentheses of performers’ laughter sounds manic rather than funny. Nor does slapping one’s hip and whooping across the stage evoke humor. Though acrobats are graceful and skilled, the 70 minute program uses up ideas in 30 minutes. Most accompaniment could put one to sleep.

Photos by Christophe Raynaud de Lage

Lincoln Center Festival presents
Compagnie XY
Il N’est Pas Encore Minuit
Artistic Collaboration-Loic Touze, David Gubitch, Valentin Mussou, Emmanuel Daries
Acrobatic Collaboration- Nordine Allal
Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall

About Alix Cohen (790 Articles)
Alix Cohen is the recipient of eight New York Press Club Awards for work published on this venue. Her writing history began with poetry, segued into lyrics and took a commercial detour while holding executive positions in product development, merchandising, and design. A cultural sponge, she now turns her diverse personal and professional background to authoring pieces about culture/the arts with particular interest in artists/performers and entrepreneurs. Theater, music, art/design are lifelong areas of study and passion. She is a voting member of Drama Desk and Drama League. Alix’s professional experience in women’s fashion fuels writing in that area. Besides Woman Around Town, the journalist writes for Cabaret Scenes, Broadway World, and Theater Pizzazz. Additional pieces have been published by The New York Post, The National Observer’s Playground Magazine, Pasadena Magazine, Times Square Chronicles, and ifashionnetwork. She lives in Manhattan. Of course.