Fumiyo Ikeda: the adorable queen of all list makers


Yes. How many ways can you think of to say that short and simple word? On second thought: forget it. Because you would lose that contest anyway, against the wonderful and funny Fumiyo Ikeda. She’s the queen of all list makers. That much I’m sure of, after having seen in pieces, her collaboration with Tim Etchells.

You remember that something has happened, on that particular day. But no matter how hard you try, you can’t remember what it was, exactly. I hate it when that happens. Or: how come you remember insignificant details, and forget the important facts? Just some of the things I was thinking of, while I was watching in pieces.

In pieces is the collaboration between Fumiyo Ikeda, who’s been part of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s dance company Rosas for over 25 years now, and British playwright and director Tim Etchells, known for his work for performance group Forced Entertainment. It’s not Ikeda’s first collaboration. In 2007 she made Nine finger, with Benjamin Verdonck and Alain Platel. That performance got selected for the Festival d’Avignon in 2007.

In in pieces you see and hear Ikeda drawing up lists of memories. Most of the time she just labels them. You don’t get the actual memory, but the label she’s put on it to stock it.  It is her and Etchells’ way to explore the infectiousness of remembering and the chain reactions that lead from one memory to the next. It’s at the same time an exploration of the links between the performer and the spectator. Because lots of her labels trigger memories in the minds of those who are watching. When Ikeda says ‘the smell of Paris’, you immediately start thinking: how does Paris smell?

One, two, three, four… She draws up several of those lists during the performance. And even though the lists are of different kinds of memories, this concept is quickly wearing thin. I’d expected more of their enquiry. But Ikeda & Etchells are clever, I have to admit. When Ikeda finally starts telling a real story, she does so in Japanese, making sure no one understands what she is actually saying. But she repeats her story, thus proving that there are different ways to remember something. A memory is never a fact. But you can remember facts.

Was I somehow disappointed by in pieces, I won’t hold that against Ikeda & Etchells. Because what makes this performance a treat, is Ikeda. The few dance phrases she throws in are truly beautiful. She’s really funny and her sense of detail, as an actress, is amazing. Just thinking of her ‘yes’-list makes we want to go and see in pieces again. A You Tube-video, anyone, please?

In pieces premiered in Brussels, at the Kaaitheater (studio’s). Later on Fumiyo Ikeda will bring the performance to Salzburg, Vienna, Rotterdam, Paris, Bergen, Stockholm, Essen and Tongeren. More info? Here.

(photo credit: Herman Sorgeloos)


3 Responses to “Fumiyo Ikeda: the adorable queen of all list makers”

  1. […] maar ze is nog op toer in een reeks van europese steden en ook nog in België later dit jaar. Klik hier voor een naar mijn aanvoelen prachtig geschreven […]

  2. […] Pieces” mentions that there was little joy in this piece, that is was boring. Utopia Parkway writes that the work quickly wears thin. I saw the piece this weekend and yes, there is certainly an […]

  3. […] Pieces” mentions that there was little joy in this piece, that is was boring. Utopia Parkway writes that the work quickly wears thin. I saw the piece this weekend and yes, there is certainly an […]

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