Coverage of Harness at the Amsterdam Fringe Festival

The Theaterkrant gave us a sensitive and insightful review (in Dutch). It gave us a lot to think about as we developed the piece.

English translation:


Review by Pieter Rings, 03/09/2016
Original review (in Dutch):

Knot Applicable’s Harness makes the public an accessory to a tender bondage ceremony ****

As you enter, it has already started. A self-assured dark-haired woman dressed in black binds ropes around a young blond woman. The women take their space and time. The knots are tied meticulously. The ropes are extended into the room. The graceful movement of their bodies becomes a stylized dance.

It is called Shibari. It is the art of erotic bondage, originating in Japan. The tender balance of power between the shibari artist and her model are difficult to describe. But this performance, in a small, dark theatre with muted lighting, is truly breathtaking.

Dasniya Sommer, the dark-haired woman, works conscientiously and keeps a careful eye on the blond Vera Goetzee, checking that she never experiences any excessive discomfort. The latter’s gaze is never anguished or submissive, not even for an instant. On the contrary, like an autonomous Jeanne D’Arc or a proud Iphigenia en route to the sacrificial altar, she allows herself to be wrapped lovingly in ropes and knots.

The binding takes a long time, and the public are so close they’re practically on top of them. Sometimes people in the audience are made participants, being asked now and then to hand over ropes or hold a taut rope attached to Vera’s body.

The almost ceremonial character is supported by the long, slow vocals of Sophie Fetokaki – who is also responsible for the concept – and by the minimalistic percussion of Mei-Yi Lee.

However restricted the model sometimes appears, this ‘passive’ object is frequently offered possibilities for movement – to turn, or to stretch out a leg. Even when she is fully suspended in ropes attached to the rigging frame on the ceiling, she is still able to rock and rotate in her swing, swaying a few inches above the ground. It is a beautiful moment when the shibari-binder lies underneath her on the ground, and their cheeks move alongside one another’s. And it makes quite an impression when the shibari-binder slowly undoes the model’s blonde tresses.

Harness by Knot Applicable is one of the surprises of the Fringe Festival 2016.

The Volkskrant featured us in their coverage of the Fringe Festival, and recommended us as the first of their “three tips for fringe”.


Thanks to Annelies Verhelst for the media photos, and the photo above.