Edinburgh Fringe 2021
The Trial of God, Moscow, 1919, and subsequent execution: the search for one’s own identity, the dynamics of power, and the methods by which we are manipulated by the state. Through dance, theatre and humour, we talk about power and the search for referents when God is dead. inclusive, intergenerational, humorous poetic, compelling, dance-theatre epic. Created by professional performers and performers of diverse abilities. directed by Vero Cendoya and Israel Solà, director of the company La Calòrica. Nominated for Spanish MAX awards for best choreography, best show and best original music.
A person running on a treadmill is no cause for alarm, even when surrounded by a huge wire structure. But when a small boy comes into our view, playing with a caged pet that typically runs on a treadmill, we notice. The metaphor is daunting.
A narrator describes how many people in the past have died from plagues, floods, pandemics, famines and earthquakes starting with ancient history to the present while a group of people scurry around trying to avoid extinction. Its visual and impactful.
Next we are taken to an operatic tribunal setting in 1918 when Anatoly Lunacharsky is sued for crimes against humanity and found guilty. Supertitles in Russian, translated into English are shown on the screen. Dramatic lighting and characters appear, hauntingly.
The story is told by physical theatre, dance, actors and spoken narration with translated sub titles set to a vibrant and eerie soundscape.
The seventy five minute show is thorough in its exploration and visual illustration of this important epic story and it could benefit from streamlining. For example, several sequences seem extended in time and repetitive in motif and message.
Choreographic physical storytelling throughout the piece by the ensemble is very effective and creative.
The mood changes to joyful abandon which is a welcome release as shown by the ensemble – and it brings its own issues within the population.
Major Gagarin is going to space – his humble life story is told in a humourous scene acted out with a short dance sequence! His entry into orbit and what follows in his life is a highlight of this piece told through innovative physical acting. Lighting in this scene is particularly effective, showing clouds, atmosphere, very effectively.
A gymnastics scene is beautifully done by the ensemble, each actor reacting emotionally and physically after the sporting event when they receive feedback from their coach. Ambition and strict training brings excellence but so many other things.
This is a substantial physical theatre piece that is creatively devised, well acted by the ensemble and carries a meaningful look back at what was and what we can learn from it.