Here is where I disagree from the above-stated positions. I think that Isaković’s message reveals a pitiless and exhibitionist yet humanistic and double-locked formalism. Aleksandar Čavlek, the expressive lighting designer, emerges as a brilliant second character. I don’t believe that their DENUDED can be strictly seen as a solo work.  That’s where it deviates from, say, Karen Finley, John Fleck, Holly Hughes and Tim Miller—solo performers known collectively as the NEA Four.

Denuded by Bruno Isakovic
Denuded by Bruno Isakovic

Both Isaković and Čavlek control us; they establish two real characters. Both men — never just one “performer” — dramatize narrative connections and a performance-design journey. Rapt and attentive, audiences cannot escape the two men’s fine ability to put on character masks.

The show is not outlandish or unique or participatory when it comes to its Mannerist questioning of established ways of performing, representing and spectating. Instead, it becomes telescopic, erotically gradual and twisty. Three quarters into the show, it suddenly overcame me. Exposure and agile manipulation drives Isaković. Yes, what he is doing stems from movement. But what I saw was a writer of body and theatrical space. He authors images of a slowly distorting body. His disrobing and Čavlek’s pinpoint segmenting fragment. Ironically, they are composing fresh identities and new visual lives.

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