How do we learn to live with what exhausts us? “Deep breathing doesn’t help,” we are told by a young performer in Amit Noy’s forthcoming production, A Big Big Room Full of Everybody’s Hope. The show, which had its premiere at the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris on 7 September before travelling to Marseille for the Festival Actoral later in the month, asks this question across three acts performed by the choreographer and his family.
In the first act, Belina Neuberger, Noy’s grandmother, shares her reflections on the Holocaust that she survived as a young woman in a video projected onto the stage, spliced together from Zoom conversations with her grandson. The second part references George Balanchine’s modernist ballet Agon, danced by Noy, who is trained in the medium and familiar with its bodily disciplines, which he rebels against in this reworking. The third is performed by the artist’s thirteen-year-old sister, Maytal, who recounts her experience of obsessive-compulsive disorder to the melodies of The Sound of Music and Annie.
The regurgitative method of A Big Big Room speaks to the struggle of living in the aftermath of violence, where its pains resurface and morph as they are passed between the generations. Noy’s hope, his contribution to this big big busy room, is that movement might be a salve against the exhaustion of it all, a way to confront, work through and live with the collective memory together, in spite of its troubling contents.
Théâtre de la Ville, Paris: 7–8 October 2023
Festival Actoral, Marseille: 30 September–1 October 2023