"Step in a philosophical play"
by Giulia D'Amico for remotegoat on 23/10/10

For the fourth consecutive year, the Blue Elephant Theatre presents a work directed by Aaron Paterson. But the world premiere of "The Cave" seems to put a strain on the Director and his Creative team.

Written in the mid-1950s by Mervyn Peake, this philosophical play, set in a cavern, faces a number of issues surrounding the existential condition of man with a certain modernity, also exploring his relationship with religion, art and science. The most interesting element of the play is the flow of a family story through the ages, representing the secular changes of human thought within family relationships.

Unfortunately, slipping into the debate, the script often remains anchored to the written page; it rarely manages to turn into action, despite the fact that the Director strives to support the words through the actors' physicality. The recurring problem of the show seems to be related to the inherent difficulties of the script and, on stage, it struggles to find adequate solutions. The use of the conventions is unclear, in particular with regard to the time shifts. In choosing to change the costumes and props under the audience eyes, we can sense the attempt to create passage rites between the ages, but the result is a brutal interruption of the action. Facing these temporal suspensions, the audience inevitably remains puzzled, feeling the same disorientation in the actors.

The repeated freezes - accompanied by a sudden light change - attempted to conceal the difficulty of representing Death on the stage; but instead, they just stop the action again, highlighting the fiction and subtracting credibility from the actors. Thus, it should be recognized that, despite the complexity of the script and its courtly tone, the entire cast is fully capable of communicating the sense and atmosphere of the play, involving and encouraging the audience to personal reflection. The three-dimensional set design is absolutely fascinating; simple sheets can recreate the thick and rough walls of a cave, giving the public the impression of finding themselves in a remote and obscure place. The final projection of the video is interesting, although it is a sort of double ending.

Despite the fact that show has not yet reached its formal completeness, we can ultimately say that the high purpose of exploiting Theater to question the meaning of human existence is fully achieved.

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