A refusal to touchdown

16th Bharat Rang Mahotsav

A refusal to touchdown

From an infinitesimally small speck of dust whirling into a tornado, just in the protagonists mind, the play conjures up a comical drama bringing out the psychedelic side of one’s character.

Set in a living room of a house with tinted green lamps at one end, a portable wardrobe on the other, Gabrielle Neuhaus, the protagonist meticulously tidies up her house listening to the mellifluous tunes of Baroque music, while adoring the portrait in the room. A sane setup, an everyday routine in a house, one would say.

What ensues in the next few moments translates into the highest extent of fastidiousness taking a maddening form. The Woman Who Didn’t Want to Come Down to Earth, a 50-minute-long non-verbal play by Israel’s Gabrielle Neuhaus Physical Theater Group was staged in the Capital as a part of the 16th Bharat Rang Mahotsav.Played out as a trilogy, this miniseries starts with Gabrielle cleaning up her house.

Soon, you hear a thudding sound, followed by noise of planes and sirens thereafter. A gush of dust pours down in the setting, enough to irk the fastidious character. She perches atop her chair, then onto table, latches onto the portrait to clean it by shifting her table and chair, but never touches down on the surface of the house. From precariously setting her foot upon the broom to climbing up her lamp, she does everything to avoid the dust. As her bizarre ways to stay clear of dust rolled out on the stage, the audience stood up to see her actions.

 It was all happening in the intimate setting of Bahumukh auditorium. With no dialogues till the end of part one, she kept her audience literally on toes, through her hysterical acrobatic moves and reactions to such a perceptibly normal situation. But the audience was left in awe, strangely amused, especially when she hangs on the wardrobe hanger, wears her coat and stays mid –air to avoid stepping down on the ground. Tied up on a hanger, the strength of her body while emoting through her facial expressions makes you want to doff your hat for that marvellous performance.As part two rolls out, she speaks out and rehashes what happened in part one by actually imitating her own actions in the last section.

This only adds up, heightening the drama in the play. Part three finds her on a different plane altogether, where she stuns the audience with her acrobatic moves, crawling and somersaulting through the passage between a stage set with water bottles. Giving an emphatic ending to the play, she puts down the portrait in the living room and hangs up her body in its place, instead, swinging by with a smile on her face. The three episodes that comprise this performance were created for ClipaAduma and Intimadance Festivals in Tel Aviv in 2012. Each episode creates a different atmosphere, uses the same everyday objects and pieces of furniture in various surprising ways, much to the amazement of the audience. 

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