Thin Air

Temenos Theatre
PQA Venues @Riddle’s Court

The performer whirls like a Dervish, gracefully, but there are some considerable problems to overcome before this show can be recommended for audiences.

The venue doesn’t lend itself to a shamanic journey, because I found very little enchantment or magic possible in this space yesterday, with the sound of talk and laughter intruding from outside, the jarring soundscore and very long pause before the performer actually moved out from under her shroud.

The music itself is a trifle too deliberately profound and obtrusive, and so loud it obscures the spoken word, which is mumbled and inadequately miked. I doubt though that amplifying the voice would be the solution.

Sufi culture produced exquisite poetry about nature, love and life, and, besides being a meditation on death, a shamanic journey should also be about the joy of living. However, the music in this performance is used as a prop, as if the performer doesn’t have confidence in her own texts, her own voice, to take us with her on her shamanic journey. How can we enter into the vision, if the shaman herself needs to lean on technology as means to promote emotion?

Then there is the ambiguous end. The house lights don’t go up, rather the spots go up on the audience, the music, a trifle pompous, continues to play and the performer comes to sit among the audience (and yesterday there were only 3 of us) staring at us with expectation. We are confused; what is expected of us? Is it time to leave or not?

The performance requires more clarity, pacing, signposting and courage.

Reviewer: Jackie Fletcher

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