|BAM Majestic/Harvey Theater, 2003. Photo: Ned Witrogen|
Winter, 27 years ago, I entered through the front door of the Majestic Theater—renamed the Harvey in 1999 in honor of Harvey Lichtenstein—then a young actor in Peter Brook’s production of The Mahabharata. I was 14 years old and immediately quite disorientated by the unfinished demeanor of the building. Of course, my naiveté lead me to believe that maybe the builders, decorators, and electricians had not finished refurbishing the interior and exterior for our big opening night. But then I asked one of the actors, who impatiently told me: “This is it.” From then on, I decided to make the place my friend. If I was going to spend three months here, then I would make it my home. So all throughout the rehearsal period, I started to explore every corner, passageway, closet, and even the overhead walkways, which had access to the lighting rig high above the stage. I probably knew the layout better than the caretakers. And for the next few months, this place became my imagined, magical world.
|Akram Khan (featured) in The Mahabharata,|
Peter Brook and Jean-Claude Carrière, 1987. Photo: Gilles Abegg
|Juliette Binoche and Akram Khan |
in In-I (Next Wave Festival 2009)
Writing this now, I realize that the reason I decided to return the chipped stone was because as a child I thought the memory was hidden within the object, but now I realize that the memory was actually stored somewhere in my body. I didn’t need another object to hold it for me. I didn’t realize or trust that knowledge as a child. But this understanding that my body is the closest object I could possess, which would store all my secret adventures, scars, hopes, and desires, was one of the most important lessons in my career. How blessed we are to be given a body that witnesses and absorbs all our secrets from the moment we are born.
Akram Khan returns to BAM March 2—5 with Torobaka, a collaboration with flamenco dancer Israel Galván.