Edinburgh Fringe 2019
“A fragile and abandoned symbol is made manifest by an extraordinary artist. The unicorn is a creature without homeland and history, has been abused and misrepresented by mankind and deprived of a voice. Bersani now aims to heal their unique grievances by giving them a love, a story and a choice. ‘I, Chiara Bersani, 98 cm tall, embody the flesh, muscles and bones of the unicorn. I, Chiara Bersani, 32 years old, I’ll take the responsibility of embracing and illuminating its long-distorted identity.'”
In a beautiful large white space surrounded by white cushions the stillness is intense. The silence adds to the atmosphere and in the distance we see something that does not appear, it is there. For in a far corner this being is calm and still. Waiting – and then very slowly moves.
The unicorn is elusive and seeing one would certainly hold our gaze because of its unknown nature.
Moving slowly across the space with deliberate and graceful placement of each limb the soft volume soundscape evokes mystery and anticipation. The creature awakens and simply moves and breathes.
Stealthily crossing the space the charismatic performer has expressive facial gestures and glistening eyes that connect with the audience. The movement dynamics have strength and energy that is sometimes bound and controlled and then free and natural.
The visual storytelling is imaginative and immersive and told without words, with great integrity and vulnerability.
A flexed foot, that is pointed then raised is a motif in this choreography that is deliberate and effective. Placement of the hands on the floor and sustained gentle speed when moving is evocative.
Chiara Bersani, from Italy performs onstage again, yet this is her first solo show. Performed and choreographed by Bersani, Seeking Unicorns is both a simple yet complex show. The simplicity of the story of a unicorn is fascinating, but her research unearthed many myths about this misunderstood creature.
Bersani uses every fibre of her muscles to create the movement and visual narrative, the vision is impressionable and may stay with the viewer long after. The story is complex in that there are several ways to interpret the unicorn from what we see and know from other sources to deeper allegory – and that when we look at someone do we really know who they are or what they are about? The qualities of unicorns are unknown because of their difference, and that can be said of everyone and we are encouraged through the ethos of this story to take the time to get to know rather than judge others.
The music complements this piece very well and is dynamic in the second half of this forty minute show with melodic rhythm, and pulsating sounds.
Bersani performs a tender and powerful story through expressive movement, she invites us into her world – and we willingly follow. Beguiling and beautiful show!