The inspiration for both the Italian Mime Suicide and Three Red Days springs from real-life events. In the hands of ordinary artists, the ideas embodied in these two distinct shows might come off as silly or so abstract, no one could understand them. But in the hands of Adam Paolozza and Viktor Lukawski, two of Canadian theatre’s most original talents, these two plays provide a pathway to a startling visual world that enters our senses like dance, sculpture, painting, or even jazz music. Watching Italian Mime Suicide and Three Red Days is like catching sight of a beautiful person, and recalling their image throughout one’s whole life.
In Three Red Days, the stage is dominated by a towering portrait of the Russian dictator Joseph Stalin. The monstrous icon is beautiful, hypnotic; oppressive.
The play is loosely based on a real-life incident in which the famed composer Shostakovich was denounced in the Soviet press, including his musical creations. Under Stalin’s iron-fisted regime, the terrified artist was summoned for interrogation. In Three Red Days, three men in suits representing Shostakovich, await interrogation in a government office. While the men sit, a sadistic official in uniform watches them, doodling on paper, relishing the fear of those about to undergo questioning. The whole work is a portrait of what living in a totalitarian state is like, a study in seamless paranoia. All this is communicated efficiently through face, demeanor, movement, sound, and music. It’s spellbinding.
Italian Mime Suicide deals with a distraught mime artist, realizing no one appreciates his art. As well, his lover has deserted him. His art is about the imitation of speech, action, of intense emotions expressed wordlessly. For all of his hard work, he feels isolated, his life of no value. He is approaching despair.
Viktor Lukawski, Miranda Calderon, Rob Feetham, and Adam Paolozza appear in both shows and they are splendid. Although all the mimes play different parts, watching them on stage is like watching synchronized swimmers in a pool. Their arms, legs, faces, hands—their individual bodies are really one. Looking at them on stage is like watching a swarm of birds in the sky, rolling in coordinated waves, one direction, then another. The action of each work is bolsters by wonderful musicians, playing everything from instrumental to classical music.
Really, it’s so sweet to sit and watch a show that grabs you on an intuitive level, nudging your thoughts into deeper insights. Both these shows are fun, frenetic, and delightful to watch. But there is always a faint and lasting shadow in mime. In both of these works, we are reminded death is our absurd companion. Death is always waiting to take us if we have bad luck, or by other means. We enjoy and laugh at the grandiose antics of the mime artist, but there is always something threatening in the work. We see humankind for what it is, slight bodies gesturing in a vast empty space. Behind the clown’s face, we see the skull. Mime reminds us how precarious; how preposterous life is.
These plays are not your average entertainment. It requires an audience that enjoys the unusual, the unexpected. It’s for an audience that can delight in brilliant circus at its very best. I truly hope whoever reads this will make the effort to see these wonderful shows before they close October 23.
REMAINING PERFORMANCE DATES:
Wednesday, October 19 – 8:30pm
Thursday, October 20 – 8:30pm
Friday, October 21 – 8:30pm
Saturday, October 22 – 8:30pm
Sunday, October 23 – 3:30pm
The Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen St. West
October 8–23, 2016
Book your tickets for free, watch the show, and decide afterwards what you want to pay based on your experience/income/etc.
Directed by Adam Paolozza
Created by The Company
Featuring: Miranda Calderon, Rob Feetham, Viktor Lukawski, and Adam Paolozza
Live Music & Arrangements for Italian Mime Suicide by Arif Mirbaghi, Bruce Mackinnon, and Justin Ruppel; Set & Projection Design by Anahita Dehbonehie (based on an original design by Lorenzo Savoini)
Costume Design by Allie Marshall; Sound Design for 3RD by Samuel Sholdice; Lighting Design by Andre Du Toit ; Stage Management by DylanTate-Howarth ; Associate
Director/Dramaturge: Kari Pederson;Producer/Publicist: Karen Knox; Production Manager: Deborah Lim; 3D Poster Photo by Omar David Rivero
All photos by John Gundy