Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Oscar Wilde - Salome

I've fallen behind in saying the things I want to say in this space. Part of the reason for my procrastination has been the production of my own collection of poetry, a small volume with a “cat” theme. I'll get to that later, but there are some things I want to mention before I forget them.

Back in November I went to see a presentation loosely based on Oscar Wilde's one act play Salome at the Pearl Company. It was subtitled a “Physical Theatre” adaptation and revolved around the interpretive dance numbers by Sergiy Shvydkyy, dancer and choreographer from the Ukraine. I personally found the production interesting but confusing and lacking.

The characters were caged in separate corners and performed almost no action; all the movement focused on Shvydkyy, the dancer. Any intercourse between Herod, Herodias, Salome and Jokanaan took place from separate corners of their world. They never seemed to interact, only provide a prelude to the next dance. With Wilde, one expects flowing and masterful language; what there was of it here was lost. When a character needed to proclaim, which seemed to be much of the time, he (or she) came across with what sounded like conversation. Conversation (as from one character to another) became lost in the shuffle. As well as the language, Wilde's moon imagery seemed so diluted as to be almost imperceptible. And for me, Wilde's language and imagery were the attraction. Dance as communication is not something I feel strongly about.

That's two strikes against it. What carried it through was the innovative approach. I do need to applaud that, and wish the producers and the Pearl Company well.

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