Monday, 27 January 2003

One Night in the Well, Jan 27 to Feb 7, 2003

One Night in the Well   by Well Theatre
La Mama  at The Courthouse
Nightly at 7.30pm Jan 27 until February 7, 2003
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

There is one strength in the trio of plays called One Night in the Well. It is the live quintet is the first play, Stitch. The tangos of Argentinian composer, Astor Piazzola,  create the atmosphere.  

The musical ensemble, composed of piano accordion and string instruments, plays the sensual tunes with great skill.  The problem is that the plays cannot do justice to the musicians. The other element worth seeing over the evening is the video design (Matt Gingold).

In Stitch,  images are cunningly projected onto screens only to transform into real objects. A projected rose suddenly appears as a real rose. There are several life size puppets in the final piece, On Time.  written and performed by Dario VaCirca.

All three pieces utilise the physical and visual. There is even the addition of Australian Sign language. (Auslan)

There are so many disparate elements that none is sufficiently well realised to make these pieces work as theatre. They are more akin to incomplete pieces of performance art.

There is plenty in the program, as we see in performance art, to explain the concept of the pieces. However, very little of it is visible or comprehensible on stage.

Stitch, says the program, is based on Papillon  and his incarceration. A depressed boy (Nik Garcia) pursues a rat and then falls asleep.  In his dream, his older self (Peat Moss) pursues a tango dancer (Willow Conway) who is seduced and later murdered by a Spanish Don.  (Ryan Schofield)

The second play lacks style or form. Director, Ben Cittadina,  stands on stage doing snatches of Auslan. A boy and girl (Renato VaCirca, Ania Reynolds) sit on a bed, tear paper, put on lipstick, play piano and kiss. Sometimes they just sit or twist into palsied shapes. It seems to be an attempt at contemporary physical comedy but it misses by a country mile.

On Time is a narrated story (Tim Townsend) with action by Dario VaCirca.  Va Circa has some skill as a physical performer. However, his representation of the story is so literal and the writing so lacking in craft that, by the end, the piece is incoherent.

It seems that an amount of Australia Council money funded this. We should expect better.

By Kate Herbert

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