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Teatro Kismet OperA

'Gilgamesh'

by Rosella Simonari

November 7, 2003 -- Kismet Theatre, Bari, Italy

In a time outside of time, a man translucent in his raw skin attempts to fly ... he looks for immortality and the pair of silverlike, small wings he holds and shakes do not seem to be able to help him ...

butoh dancer Gyohei Zaitsu is like an organic and sacred element within the scene: a rectangle of light delimiting the central part of the stage, a set of delicate branches on the top left corner of the stage set up on the front, a shadowed female figure in front of a microphone, outside the main rectangle on the right side of the stage; and a background made of a huge canvas painted in what reminded me of Abstract Expressionism.

Zaitsu's part in the theatre-based performance is as one of the 'invisible visible' as Teresa Ludovico, the creator, writer, and director of "Gilgamesh" has underlined in an after-performance meeting with the audience. His time runs at a different speed (much slower) with respect to the unfurling of fragmented events displayed on stage by the actors and actresses.

But who was Gilgamesh? He was a powerful king of Sumer who wanted to gain the secret of immortality. His adventures along his arrogant quest are written in cuneiform writing on some very ancient stones. And, writing is the essence of this theatrical performance inside which the almost divine sense of movement of that other Gilgamesh unfolds and which at the same time reinforces the complex structure of the Sumerian myth.

Ludovico plays the role of the female scribe who represents a kind of narrator both outside and inside the story. Her voice is firm and calm and it often surrounds the movements of the butoh dancer. The time of the narration is cyclic as with most of the mythical stories,and this is highlighted once again by Zaitsu's attempt to fly, jumping from a foetal position legs bent to a full stretching of his whole body.

Edited by Jeff.

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