Maja Đurinović on The Cosmic Dust Practice

For “watching, listening, laughing and even daydreaming”
by Maja Đurinović


The Cosmic Dust Practice is a new solo-act by author and performer Pavle Heidler, which premiered at the International Festival of Developmental Theater. Among other things, this festival incorporates theatres that explore permeability and flexibility or the instability of borders within various performing arts practices, as they are so all-encompassingly called today. This broad term often ends up in small, closed, blind alleys, where the biggest problem is the transfer and communication of work. It is therefore very interesting and funny that one of the questions the editors of Ganz New Festival’s program booklet posed to every author was: ”Why should we, as an audience, be interested in what you do?”

Heidler’s written response is not an entirely good response to such a rudely direct and simple question, but is rather a lamentation to a freely chosen topic (as proof of freedom?), but his physical-scenic attempt to articulate the answer is fairly satisfying. Is is rarely warm, touching and it really does motivate us to ”watch, listen, laugh and even daydream”. In fact, it is in his text, written as a description of the performance (for that same program booklet) that the answer to the question why we as the audience should be interested in what he does lies.

As the author, performer and his own craftsman when it comes to dealing with the technical aspect of the performance (which seems made up of a series of personal tools in the form of a computer, a projector and a projection screen, a few spotlights, speakers, and a small counter), Heidler welcomes his audience in an intimate atmosphere of a dark room, his own little universe, as an excited and somewhat insecure young man on the brink of a huge personal, scientifically-artistic discovery. This discovery is here somewhere, inside him and in his space and is still not articulated, despite the series of gathered splinters and the foreshadowing of an Idea, but it is all the more exciting to witness his serious attempt to share the discovery of his process of ”practicing cosmic dust” (Cosmic dust is made up of interstellar matter and meteor dust. Its particles absorb the light of the stars; it is the basis for the creation of Life in the universe) with the guests. He looks a bit unkempt, wearing old sweat pants and a sleeveless shirt, with a beard like Robinson Crusoe – a hero who had to rediscover everything from scratch on his deserted island…His body, touched and moved by new insights, is torn between diving into the space, the outer universe, and the attempt to verbalize the idea of a personal Miracle which is vertiginously opening up like an inner universe due to his careful, conscious concentration on the physical and spiritual consequences of every breath intake and heartbeat, as well as the fact that matter changes (cells and tissue).

It is as if dance, in a series of impulses and well known sequence patterns (”blind passengers” from other choreographic languages, as Laurence Louppe would put it) is spilling out of him, as if it pulls him, makes him happy, reminds him of something. Then he begins with the critical reading of his notes, discoveries, then gives in to the movement, unsure and indecisive as to how to present it, what the lights for a certain scene should be like, in fear of the projector that never seems to work immediately…The communication remains intimate during the entire performance and the audience gets successfully sucked into the calming and mysterious, yet likable and funny autocritical self-exploration of the dancer.
translated from Croatian by Koraljka Suton


originally published in Croatian at (link)