Daniel Cox, student both of kinbaku and shibari, returns to FRINGE WORLD, bringing to the festival a deeply intimate vision, with his new show, Bound to You. Shibari, as the briefest of introductions, is Japanese rope as art, using the model as a living canvas.
A darkened room, tonight undecided whether to be gothic or industrial. Minimalist lighting. A bag of rope. A single point of suspension. The hum of the audience, some aware of what is coming, some not. The artists come onto stage, and she kneels. It begins.
The piece is billed as super intimate, and it really, really is. We are all but transported into the bedroom, the dungeon, perhaps even the Red Room with these two and, although there is a wonderful sense of stagecraft throughout, the performers are utterly focussed on each other. We, the audience, are literal voyeurs; transfixed, silent, hungry. This is not the show to whoop, cheer, or holler at.
With the majority wearing masks, this silence is heightened, as if an N95 version of Venetian Carnevale, or a scene from Eyes Wide Shut. One or two with cameras out, like that Black Mirror episode. Those without masks, their drinks forgotten, eyes wide, jaws dropped. All on the edge of their seats.
The rope lightly burns against the skin early on, and there’s a collective intake of breath, a delicious shiver. Later, the rope glides against a clavicle, and teeth grind. She licks her lips. Should we even still be watching?
The lift, an illusion of flight. The amount of trust between the two is something to behold. Especially when upside down, suspended by one knee only. The rope is untied, almost more intricate to get out of than to get into, and we can see how deep the indentations are, how much each must have hurt.
The ropework is exquisite, the artists totally in synch with each other. This is beautiful to watch, and high art. It is certainly unlike anything else you will be seeing at FRINGE WORLD this year.