As Far As Impossible
Tiago Rodrigues, music by Gabriel Ferrandini
Comédie de Genève
Tiago Rodrigues give us this intriguing examination of "what drives someone to risk their life to help other". He use four gifted storytellers in some part to represent his own query to enlist someone / the audience to take on the role of story-telling.
Mr. Rodgigues lends his voice to these four actors—Adrien Barazzone, Beatriz Bras, Baptiste Coustenoble and Natacha Koutchoumov—who "acting" like the writer, are looking for actors to tell the stories. It seems a little too much of a dramatic tool that might get in the way of the build of the productions. This tool is set aside quickly and early and not revisited until near the end of the evening. Sort of: I/we have this story that we want you, actors / audience to tell, breaking the fourth wall. This probably could easily be done away with and not be missed when you examine the production and its impact / value in its entirety. In other words, it doesn't get in the way.
Rodrigues, drawing from his own background and with the widest group, tells this story in Portuguese, French and English. The two languages not used are translated in superscript, equitably dispersed throughout the evening and ably composed by Laura Fluery. Using the tool of storytelling (mostly), the performers talk about their need / passion for volunteerism using a few stories of the vital and often dangerous work that they encounter. Rodrigues cleverly uses the word "impossible" to describe the locations and battles. "We go from the land of possible to the land of impossible". It works well and it works seamlessly. These stories, although unique here, are not totally of the unfamiliar ilk.
The stage is tented in white fabric attached to cords that lead up and over a pulley that can be adjusted by the actors. (Mountains?) The actors slowly reveal the percussionist below, who, along with an amazing sound designer / engineer, fill the story with music and sound.
This production is as beautiful as it is simple and it is frighteningly engaging. It falls somewhere in the middle of storytelling and play. It is emotionally powerful.
But here I stray to my weakness and vulnerability, the caviar, the truffles, the champagne. The percussion / percussionist. Throughout the show it was used to serve the production and it did so elegantly. But for the author or producer or director or maybe even the percussionist himself to indulge us with the final ten or fifteen minutes of the sow with pure percussion. I could have been totally happy with two and a half hours of this. Even the unschooled must know that they have been given a very special gift. Gabriel Ferrandini is the explanation for, "of course, you could live without art, but why would want to?"
Reviewer: Catherine Lamm