Wednesday, 13 October 2004

The Diary Project, IRAA Theatre, Oct 15, 2004

The Diary Project, IRAA Theatre
By Renato Cuocolo & Roberta Bossetti   
Melbourne Festival of Arts
George Adams Gallery, Arts Centre October 13 to 23, 2004
 Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Oct 15, 2004

The Diary Project, directed by Renato Cuocolo, performed by Roberta Bossetti, casts us as voyeurs. Both director and actor are living for two weeks inside the fishbowl of the George Adams Gallery.

They moved their entire house - bed, table and chairs, sofa, lamps, books, stereo - into the gallery and are visible day and night through a window.

This project continues on from The Interior Sites Project in which a tiny audience was invited into their home for an intimate dinner, a sleepover and personal disclosures from Bossetti.

The Diary Project is based on a diary written by Bossetti and Cuocolo beginning on 1 January, 2004. It tracks their daily lives, decisions to leave Melbourne, travel to Los Angeles and Italy.

Part One concentrates on January-February when they left Melbourne. Entries are mostly impersonal, casual observations with occasional more intimate references. Bossetti muses on homelessness, travel, a funeral home, the death of her uncle and notions of memory.

The piece is enlivened and most effective when the action is emotional or when Bossetti employs her considerable acting skills rather than simply reading.

The greatest attraction is Bossetti's easy, sensual charm. She wears a long sleeved white leather dress with revealing and distracting side slits.

She addresses us directly, prowls the space or sits on the bed, reads under a lamp, kicks off her shoes, lies on the bed in which they will sleep.
Cuocolo prompts her with questions, like a journalist. "Tell us about January 21." or "What do you remember about the funeral home?"

It is difficult to judge The Diary Project as a whole from one 50 minute performance. There are four components as well as shorter daily readings. What we cannot assess is the impact of the entire live-in event.

Part Two is written in Vercelli, Part Three in Rome and Part Four is a composite of the LA, Melbourne and Italy diary entries up to Sept 22. The tone and form of the performance might change for these three parts.

We have expectations that the leather diary will illuminate her experiences and make the personal dramatic. However, Part One lacks passion and a dramatic through line.

Compared with the intense insights, personal revelations and poetic form of The Secret Room, Part One of The Diary Project seems superficial.

By Kate Herbert 

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