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Review: “The Revival Road” | Samrat Haylu


"The Revival Road” is a dance performance created by Lilach Pnina Livne and her brother Dor Livne, featuring Dor’s personal story as a clean drug addict – his hard drug addiction and the process of rehab and recovery.

The show combines dance along with texts from the book of poems Dor was working on in recent years, during rehab. The Livne duo, accompanied by four dances, pour onto the stage Dor’s darkest moments – physically, emotionally and mentally – before, during and after rehab.

שביל התחייה, יוצרים: דור ליבנה ולילך פנינה ליבנה, צילום: טל מיכאל הרינג

This interpersonal encounter is presented through a work of art, giving the spectators access to a painful, extremely challenging past, while also offering visions of future fantasies: dreams that lead to the realization of a lively, hopeful present, and the prospect of turning our struggles with difficulties in life into training ground where we can engage with our infinite selves, recognize the infinite good the world has to offer us, and transforming it all into tools that would let us develop and bring us closer to ourselves and to faith as a philosophy of life. All this is encompassed within the physical space that is the human body, which enables an emotionally, mentally and consciously aware existence; this is where the art grows from, giving the audience a part in this life journey, through art and performance.

One of the most powerful spells this performance casts on its viewers is in the way it tells such a challenging and painful story with such a strong, stable drama anchor, allowing me to empathize with and relate to it.

The performance was a precise combination, moving between quiet moment, where words and text rule, and moments of music and choreographed movement through space:

On quiet moments and words

These moment of silence, wrapped in Dor’s words – excerpts from his poetry book, pouring onto the stage and into the spectators’ ears – were like flakes of gold that grant access to the depths of his human soul: challenges, fears, experiments, unrelenting faith, prayers, gratitude for the present and for the person he is today. These moments let me connect with my own pain through somebody else’s pain – look back at them, cry onto them, hug them and be thankful for them.

שביל התחייה, יוצרים: דור ליבנה ולילך פנינה ליבנה, צילום: ארלה הצמצם הבוער

On moments of music and movement

Everything is liberated in these moments of music and movement, cleaning and cleansing the space, clearing the weight of the clusters of words that recount the harsh experiences Dor went through in his years of addiction. The choreographed parts and the excellent choice of music allowed me to experience the words visually, as if the dance itself was an interpreter into movement of the written words that were heard all throughout the piece. These were magical moments, inviting me to pass through sorrow and pain and into the body’s will to move and shake off that experience, until I achieve happiness and serenity. These moments let me breathe into these stories of hardship, and the personal stories of hardship that came to mind as a viewer; breathe along with them, embrace acceptance and compassion, and move on to the learning process that follows hardships.

Where it got me

Through this piece, Dor, a clean drug addict, facilitates an encounter with a story and truths we all know of, but usually don’t experience personally, or get past a distant, alienated view of it. Even I, as the sister of an alcohol and drug addict, never came this close to it: asking about it, hearing about addicts’ challenges and the pain, about their lives through their own eyes. This piece let me see my sister, specifically, and addicts in general from a safe space, balanced and free of judgment, identify and find a connection between my own pain and challenges and the ones they experience in life.

Understand we are all humans with a soul seeking remedy;

Each one of us,

In their own way.

As someone who relates to this topic from such a personal place, this piece let me cry and hurt, as well as finding empathy and compassion. I was able to find optimism for my addicted sister in Dor and Lilach’s joint process, release anger and realize that my pain isn’t the only challenge there. It let me pass through my own personal journey surrounding addiction and the emotional effects of being so close to someone who’s addicted to hard drugs and alcohol, and through the space I have within me for forgiveness; forgive the situation and forgive this process. Watching “The Revival Road” led me through a journey in the space of time – from the difficult past to the sweet, sweet present. At the end of the performance I felt there was room for happiness and freedom, to embrace the prospect of breathing in the artist’s present, clean of drugs.

Out of the three parts of this piece, I was particularly moved by the ending, taking it into my heart, womb and brain: It felt like a sun melting between my fingers with happiness. The ending made me feel like all that exists is a present that makes you want to bathe in and forever thank for: be grateful for the privilege to get up in the morning, breathe, choose life, recognize the freedom of choice the universe gives us, humans, to choose self-love, self-compassion and deep self-healing. A proposal to engage with faith, and through it experience the miracles it brings into our lives, the wonders that wash away pain, challenges and fear. It’s like seeing a cactus plant full of prickles blooming in the colors of the rainbow, or like drinking the best lemonade you’ve ever had, made of the sourest lemons life gives us.

I would like to thank all those involved:

Choreographer Lilach Pnina Linve;

Dor Livne, writer of words and of a fresh reality of life;

Dancers Michiru Shin, Noa Keller, Chen Chefetz and Maya Schwartz.

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Samrat Haylu

Independent artist, engaged in dance, theater, writing, community building and personal development mentoring. Owner of online shop Blanca Art, an African fashion and homeware design line for women.


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