Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Valley of Astonishment @ The Polonsky Shakespeare Center @ The Theatre for New Audience

What if when you listened to music, you saw colors? Or you had enough memorized words in your brain that you could fill a 10,000 page book? These are just some of the brain phenomenons explored in Peter Brooks and Marie-Helenes Estienne unique play "The Valley of Astonishment." 

Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. How does one convey that to an outside listener in a way that they can not only grasp, but relate to? Kathryn Hunter, Marcello Magni, and Jared McNeill take the stage as a mirage of characters that do just that, 

Equally human and brilliant, the characters portrayed bring to life a story both profound and simple. Brilliant minds in ordinary bodies, creating, feeling, and experiencing life at an intensity that invokes fear and awe in "normal" company. Blending stories, characters, accents, mannerisms, the actors are both heartbreakingly vulnerable onstage as they are fascinating to watch. 

Against a bare back drop, minimilistic stage design, and tailored lights by Lighting Designer Philippe Vialatte, there is nowhere for the actors to hide. Their humanity is stripped bare for all the audience to see and while this is the goal of every actor, this cast does it so effortlessly one cannot help but admire it. 

Musicians Raphael Chambouvent and Toshi Tsuchitori add another level of sensory pleasure with their gorgeous accompaniment. 

A three week only event, "The Valley of Astonishment" closes October 5th, so do yourself a favor and go experience synesthesia with a group of people who will let you live it with them. 
Review By: Aziza Seven
Photos By: Pascal Victor

No comments:

Post a Comment