Edinburgh Fringe 2019
“Where can we find a connection between the two worlds in which we live – the world of determination (digits, reasoning) and the world inside (unexplored, full of Eros, frightening)? How can we explore this without losing sanity? Ariadna guides you through the labyrinths in which modern people roam: gender, body and its objectification, mundanity and mystical feeling. Dip into the primordial, to ancient mysteries and archetypical images, whilst experiencing the very moment of contemporaneity. In the liminal space of the show a new world is being constructed – a one-of-a-kind, never to be recreated.”
The Alyona Ageeva Physical Theatre PosleSlov company from Russia presents their latest show, Ariadna, which is a creative production with inspired and exquisite movement. Visual storytelling explores fascinating themes supported by outstanding sound design from David Block.
“Where can we find the connection between the two worlds in which we live?” a voice asks us before we go on this journey through labrynths of the mind, gender, body and objectification.
Six performers play various roles, a chorus of three, a male and female and a mysterious god-like character who oversees the entire world of Ariadna.
A dramatic vision at the start is of three women in long black semi transparent gowns, they stand with heads bowed with long flowing hair and one looks up at us as if to invite us to follow her into another world, or mindset, and we do!
A fascinating section with a white mask is particularly compelling when Alyona Ageeva enters and her male partner – who has a strong compelling presence and athleticism – extends the mask to her face. Is she becoming the mask – or is she Ariadna? Whatever interpretation we have is ours as we watch every movement, detailed gesture and the excellent precision of sequences when several performers work as an ensemble.
In another section Ageeva’s mimetic movement and expertly articulated stop and start motion and gestures is beautiful. A sequence where several performers communicate through crisp arm movements then slow and sustained that are at times like the quality of Butoh have such precision and control. Next there is a lovely vulnerability when dancers fall back repeatedly into another’s arms. A male / female partnering tango dance is curious and seems a tad out of place, although the intention is solid.
These are very well trained movement artists and dancers and there is much integrity in this company’s physical storytelling. Choreographed movement motifs are abstract, and unusual owing much to the creativity and experimentation of the artistic directors, who strive to develop their own expression that is authentic yet not conforming to a specific movement genre. They focus on finding the essence of the story or idea and expressing it from their inner core.
This is where the soundscape is so important and Block’s choices perfectly complement Ariadna throughout. We hear short sections of classical music at first, which become distorted and then released to become pulsating rhythms or groans and vibrations from another world.
At times the gestures of the ensemble are sculptural with an ethereal fluidity – and there is no doubt that this is elegant storytelling that comes from the imaginations of this ensemble and invites the audience to take a chance and go into the labrynths together. Highly recommended and a Hidden Gem!