All images by Günter Krämer, ZürichTanzt
Concept and Choreography: Lander Patrick
Dramaturgical Assistance: Jonas Lopes
Lighting Designer: Lander Patrick, Rui Daniel
Light Operation: Carlos Ramos
Production and Touring: [PI] Produções Independentes | Tânia M. Guerreiro
Co-production: Festival Materiais Diversos
Jonas and Lander, Portugal
What I Saw
When the audience came into the main theater of the Csiky Gergely, we saw two men, shoulder to shoulder, swaying back and forth lightly, both blindfolded. Around them, a circle of eggs.
When the performance began, the two men (Lander and Jonas), stopped, separated, and turned in opposite directions; still blindfolded and in silence, they followed the circle of eggs, stepping on them and shattering the empty shells, until they met each other on the other side of the circle.
Throughout the largely non-verbal performance (minus one section in which they sing along with “Like a Virgin”), Lander and Jonas remained blindfolded but gradually, very slowly, came into closer and more daring physical contact. What started out first as light tapping on each other’s bodies, seemingly to establish space and distance, turned into what seemed like children’s hand-games, clapping and slapping in rhythm, increasingly complicated. The catch was that they could not move on until they were in perfect sync with each other’s bodies, still blindfolded, so the audience witnessed both their erroneous attempts and their successes.
The tasks and situations they set for themselves got increasingly complex, both in physicality (lifts and carries, lighting cigarettes) and in intimacy. What started out as childlike play evolved into mature desire for partnership. The two men we watched onstage grew physically closer, always blindfolded, creating a physical dialogue that required responsibility and consent from both parties in order to move forward. Eventually, they ended up slow dancing, removing their shirts to reveal painted words wrapped around their mid-sections, revealed as they danced slowly in a circle: “I AM OK,” on one, “I AM KO,” on the other. Then, pants and underwear were dropped around the ankles, but by this time the two bodies have become one body in motion, dancing in a slow circle. What would happen next was unclear.
Suddenly, the stage was interrupted by strangers—in this instance, it was mostly young actors from the Csiky Gergely company (who had participated in a workshop earlier), performing mundane tasks like vacuuming, playing a video game, pushing a stroller, that eventually took up the entire stage and subsumed the show, with Landor and Jonas all but disappearing into the background, still maintaining their slow dancing circle. The show ended in this cacophony of sound and movement, the stage covered with people.
Nuts and Bolts
Cast Size: 2 males
Touring Size: 2 performers and 1 light technician
Minimum height/width/depth of stage: 6mw/5md/4mh
Load in time: 9 hours
Strike time: 3 hours
Amsterdam (NL), Something Raw Festival, Frascati, 9 e 10 February
Torino (IT), Interplay Festival, Torino, 23 May
Romania, Festival TESZT, 29 May
Budapest, (HU) November 21
Helsinki (FIN), Zodiak, October 20 + 21
Szeged (HU), 25th Thealter International Theatrical Festival, July 25
Lisbon (PT), Teatro Maria Matos, May 21
Mainz (DE), Tanzmainz, March 20-21
Lublin (PL), International Dance Theatres Festival, November 10
Bologna (IT), Gender Bender Festival, October 30-31
Zurich (DE), Rote Fabrik, September 30 - October 1
Paris (FR),, Les Plateaux, September 27
Lille (FR), Latitudes Contemporaines, June 14
Zurique (DE), Zürich Tanzt, May 1
Umeå (SE), Aerowaves Spring Forward Festival, April 27
Berlim (DE), Lucky Trimmer/Sophiensaele, April 5-6*
São Paulo (BR),, Mostra Novíssimos Portugueses/SESC Belenzinho, March 29
Vigo (ES), Festival Alternativo de las Artes Escénicas, March 15
Londres (UK), Currency/The Place, November
Oporto (PT), Quintas de Leitura/Teatro do Campo Alegre, September*
Torres Novas e Cartaxo (PT),, Festival Materiais Diversos, 19 September (Premiere)
Montemor-o-Novo (PT), PT13, May
Berlin (DE), Lucky Trimmer/Sophiensaele, April (short version)
2012 (short version – 10-20 minutes)
Lisbon (PT), CRIATIVA-MENTE/Convento da Trindade, December *
Lisbon (PT), Celebração/Ritz Club, November *
Ludwigshafen (DE), “No Ballet” 7th International Choreography Competition, November *
Naples (IT), Palomart Festival, July *
Lisbon (PT), 15th Lugar à Dança/National Ancient Art Museum, July *
Future Performance Dates:
Santiago de Chile, 19 November 2016
Barcelona, Festival Salmon, 3 and 4 December 2016
Available for touring from: 11/09/2016
Tania Guerreiro (manager) | 00-351-964728435, Portugal
Writings and Reviews:
“One of the most winning, original entries in Spring Forward 2014, Cascas d’OvO (Eggshells) is a slap-happy, finger-snapping romance that by the close disarmingly thrusts its way into a wider world. Wearing eyemasks throughout, choreographer Lander Patrick and Jonas Lopes (a terrific double act) begin by treading carefully on a circle of hollowed-out eggs – a symbol, perhaps, of the fragile fertility of any relationship. Their sightless, synchronized search for a close embrace is conducted via teeth sucking, pelvic wriggles, scissors/paper/rock games, a song (“Like a Virgin”) and a cigarette break. The underlying message of this frequently hilarious love story is a glittering I AM OK / I AM KO writ on flesh. Its cuckoo charm acquires greater dimension in a delightfully surprising finale in which the stage is gradually invaded by a dozen all-ages extras.” - Donald Hutera, 29 April 2014
"The meeting is surprising: a greeting, a caress, become a children's game, which led to the extreme, leads to a close proximity of the bodies. A show permeated by a naïve lightness naturally causing laughter at times " - Sofia Soromenho (Mais Critica). June 15, 2013
The Theatre- Jonas&Lander
After 5 years of collaborative work in which Jonas and Lander plunged into each other’s creative space, the point of departure for this new piece is their shared direction.
A marriage between precision and the coarse strongly marked by the appropriation of a rhythmic and vocal body, which are distinguishing characteristics of these two performers.
Lander Patrick (Brasil, 1989)
has suffered from chronic asthma since moving from Brazil to Portugal in the year he was born. He played volleyball to ward off the disease, but eventually graduated in dance. Lander has worked around the world with people he admires, such as Luís Guerra, Tomaz Simatovic, Marlene Monteiro Freitas, Alejandro Ahmed, Margarida Bettencourt, and Jonas Lopes, among others. After having won two awards in choreography (1st prize at the Koreografskih Minijatura Festival in Serbia for Noodles Never Break When Boiled, respectively 2nd prize at the No Ballet International Choreography Competition in Germany for eGGshells) he found the motivation to work in the field of choreographic creation rather than in a call centre. Cascas d’OvO was selected for Aerowaves Priority Company 2014 and his work has been presented in Portugal, Italy, Sweden, USA, Germany, Brazil, France, England, Spain, Serbia, Poland, Switzerland, etc. He lives in Lisbon in a camper van with his love and believes that vegetarianism will contribute to the prolonged existence of the planet.
Jonas Lopes (Portugal, 1986)
Jonas was named by his mother, who, in the throes of labour, promises to give her baby a biblical name.
Later, he attends Chapitô school, where he spends three years with teachers like Sofia Neuparth, Amélia Bentes, and António Pires; he participates in an artistic residency in Italy, completes an internship on the stage of the São Luiz theatre, and contemplates the view of the Tagus river over lunch.
Upon completion of his studies, he emigrates to London. There, he shares a flat with a person who grew up on a boat and another that was born in the Pyrenees, singing fado at events around the city and attending classes at the Pineapple Dance Studio.
Nostalgic for Portuguese olive oil, he returns to Lisbon to record Rosa Negra´s album Fado Mutante, released in 2011 and winner of the 2012 Carlos Paredes award. He is admitted to Escola Superior de Dança, where he begins to create his own work in collaboration with Lander Patrick. He feels truly privileged to travel, learn and work with theatre, music, and dance artists like Margarida Bettencourt, Tiago Guedes, Sofia de Portugal, and Maria João, among others.
Reflections from Susan
eGGshells is an extraordinary, simple, spellbinding piece of theater. There is something about watching two people attempt to do something without sight that keeps an audience as on the edge of their seat as a close sports game, and to use that tool to tell a nonverbal/physical story about the creation of a partnership was revelatory and refreshing. There have been many theater artists who have created metaphors or narratives that explore intimacy between men that use emotional or intellectual tools to find commonalities with their audiences, but this show finds a ways to use tactile tools, and to great effect.
The word I kept writing down in my notes was “consent”: nothing could progress without both of the performers being in sync with each other, without both of them coming to consensus—consenting—that they were ready to move forward. In a time when the digital age seems to be creating further and farther distances between people even in the same space, this piece reminds its audience that touch is essential, perhaps even foundational, to how we govern our societies. Especially in democracies, some kind of consensus must be reached before being able to move forward, even if one party has to make compromises in order to do so. A moment in eGGshells actually played out this metaphor: one of the men’s cigarettes did not actually light, so instead he faked it, pretending to blow smoke instead of actually doing it.
The piece moves at a snail’s pace with good reason, and each millisecond, each movement and sound taking on meaning and significance. Again the word “consent” came to me: I thought about how satisfying this slow pace was, how lovely and sensual each step towards partnership became. To American audiences, particularly college students, it might perhaps be a revelatory process to watch what slow, actual consent looks like. Because in the end there was no need for violence, coercion, or capitulation on either end, and I wrote in my notes: “consent is slow, but what’s the hurry?” Much like as a metaphor for governance, using tactile performance tools to connect the even more literal narrative of actual consent leading to satisfying physical intimacy seems obvious in retrospect.
In hearing from Landor and Jonas in the talkback (they are both artistic and domestic partners), their mission was simple: to see if they could get two bodies in sync. For them the piece has become equally about letting go of control, as they spoke about the decision to use whoever shows up to the workshops as the final act of the piece. It’s important to them that, in the end, the piece no longer belongs to Landor and Jonas but to this crowd of performers who they have only met but now must trust, because they cannot see what they are doing nor control their actions.
Because of its possibility to use students or community members (each performance has a workshop in advance of the show), eGGshells is ideal for touring in the US. In a time when we need to be connected in real life to each more than ever, it seems essential for audiences to experience this piece’s tactile revelations.