Vetřelec (The Intruder)

Alfred ve dvoře resident Fleur Alexander reviews a selection of the theatre's nonverbal productions

It is a woman's conversation with herself. It is a series of questions that we should be asking ourselves. It is an opportunity to see an intensely private discussion unfold. It is familiar in a way that your eyes don't recognize. It's painful, it's innovative, it's real emotion; no strings attached.

A woman pours a glass of milk, with the intention of drinking it, but she is denied, as it somehow escapes from the glass. What follows this distorted version of what would normally be a mundane activity is a 40-minute silent dialogue, a silent dialogue with a life-size marionette.

A life-size marionette that resembles our performer identically. Our performer who proceeds to manipulate this object with enough skillful precision to give it life, to give it will, to give the puppet ultimate control.

The journey of interaction between them is a personified power struggle. It begins in an endearing fashion and fluctuates seamlessly and fluidly from poignant to disturbing to humorous to alarming to touching to brutal, but it always remains honest.

It's refreshing to see such a candid depiction of an inner struggle presented in such an accessible format. It's yourself that holds you back; in order to take control of your life you must take control of yourself.

On more than one occasion she tries to break free from herself by reaching out to the outside world. She tries to send a text message and answer her phone, but the marionette physically stops her.

This is just one of the uses of sharp and intense imagery, which are littered throughout, that demonstrate ones' eternal battle with your own self-conscience.

A self-conscience that will never understand the outside world because it cannot ever really exist within it, so what ensues is an internal compromise within "yourself" that is destined for constant everlasting negotiation.

I have seen two performers on stage representing one character before, I have even seen 10 performers on stage representing the abundance of faces one character has. But seeing a performer control an inner self, while the outer self simultaneously reacts to that dialogue was an entirely new experience.

It's like watching the impossibility of a woman interacting with her own shadow. The extension and tangibility of this representation is both powerful and disconcerting, for what we are seeing ceases to be figurative and becomes literal.

The two sides of a person are no longer represented on stage but rather they coexist on stage, they become two beings through one body.

The Intruder takes object manipulation to completely new depths, allowing it to ask questions of being and existence.

Which one of these characters is real? Both. Neither. The human, or the puppet? What makes the flesh more real than the wood? How much of what people see is simply a façade of what we want them to see? And can anyone ever really know you without seeing your inner marionette?

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