Based on Haruki Murakami’s bestselling novel Norwegian Wood, There We Have Been explores the relationship of the novel’s main character and his late best friend’s girlfriend, as told in the first part of the book. Telling a tale of grief, loneliness and dependency, this 20 minute-long performance is breathtakingly beautiful and strangely intense.
With simple yet innovative use of lighting the opening scene sees the female dancer, dressed in white, practically floating in mid-air before starting to move slowly to the subtle music. As the light changes the second part of the duo is revealed as the male character - all dressed in dark colours, he emerges carrying his partner in his arms. Then starts what can best be described as a long and emotionally intense embrace and balancing act in which the female character never once touches the floor, but instead is held up by her partner.
The contrast between the two, in the colour of the clothes, their physicality and their movements, is interesting and adds an extra dimension to the performance; the fragile nature of the female character become particularly evident, as she wraps her body around his in what appears to be a desperate attempt to keep herself from falling. About halfway through the performance the music changes, and we see the duo move from a slow and silent embrace to a more passionate and emotionally desperate interaction. As the performance comes to an end and the faith of the relationship is revealed, it is hard not to be moved as the male character turns his back and walks away, leaving the woman silently behind.
This is simply a beautiful piece of contemporary dance. The fact that the female character never touches the floor adds a new level of intensity to an otherwise emotionally charged performance in that it truly gives the impression that these two lonely souls have nothing to hold on to but each other. Despite only lasting for twenty minutes, the passion with which the performers carry out their parts makes There We Have Been a play that will stay with you longer than that.