Summerhall (Demonstration Room)
Hanging upside down from the trapeze, her back turned to the audience, Zinnia Oberski is determined to regale us with fifty minute of engrossing performance art. I watch the muscles create patterns on her naked torso as she hesitantly swings and stretches in an unquestionable display of human perfection. The atmosphere is eerie, the room is filled with fog and the warm lighting kept to a minimum. Like a feral creature, she seems scared to leave her perch, indulging in a few more routines before she finds the courage to let it go. The soundtrack, reminiscent of ancient rituals, enhances the gravity of her feat.
Time trickles whilst she worships the elements, and we hear a gentle rain falling in the distance as she gets accustomed to the ground beneath her feet. There’s a sense of achievement when she finally lets herself drop to the floor, rolling and letting the soil run through her fingers and smear her bare skin. This isn’t dirt, but the beginning of the timeless connection with an essential source of life.
The power shifts again when a large skull with long horns appears to upset her newly uncovered affinity. The threatening looks of the beast push the woman to withdraw onto her perch, until curiosity prevails again, bringing them closer. There follows a mesmerising celebration of the primordial sacred fusion between human and animal.
Zinnia’s wholehearted belief in her own performance is what pushes it to high degrees of excellence. Although she’s very much aware of her audience – staring directly towards the packed seats on more than one occasion – she’s also there for herself. Half the beauty of this show comes from the tangible pleasure she’s taking from displaying her work. A labour of love founded on extensive research and inspired by classic mythology, folklore and faerie-tales. Bringing it all together is Oberski’s distinctive skill as a powerful acrobat and poignant conceptual artist.
Created by: Zinnia Oberski
Directed by: Ellie Dubois
Produced by: Zinnia Oberski presented by Scissor Kick
Dreams of the Small Gods plays at Summerhall until 28 August, 7:50pm. Further information and bookings here.