Philobiblon: A fine drop, but not everyone's beaker

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A fine drop, but not everyone's beaker

If you were to step out of your time machine into the Athenian fifth-century theatre, what you would experience is not what you see at the Barbican Pit in the Gardzienice Centre for Theatre Practices production of Metamorphoses & Elektra. While the scientists are working on the machinery, however, this evening is probably as close as you can get to the sensation - the music, the words, and the confrontation of a wholly foreign world - that a time machine journey would produce.

Gardzienice's is a theatre aethetic of bodies, and sounds. (Luckily, since few in the audience can have mastered both the ancient Greek and Polish that is mixed in with the occasional English explanation.) The company works with the fragmentary remains of ancient Greek songs (a little of the musical notation survives), then has taken in influences from tours to remote parts of eastern Europe, New Mexico, South Korea and Norway, searching for the elemental in culture and humanity.

This is then reduced and shaped to a carefully rehearsed anarchy, to the point where a group of women in white robes, whirling around the stage to a simple but compulsive rhythm (Sufi mystics by another name), are crying like eerily accurate angry seagulls. Or the Author stands in his cloaks of character masks, defenceless and undefended as they are ripped away. READ MORE


Blogger Jexebel said...

Greek and Polish with minimal English interjections? I'm so there. It'll be as good as when I set upi my DVD player using only the Japanese instructions. It donesn't really play movies, but makes wicked good toast.

2/02/2006 07:25:00 am  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

"Really good toast" in this context is a good metaphor for the show!

2/02/2006 10:46:00 am  

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