Fringe review: Third Child

Thunder rolled around the tent at Divadlo Nablizko...

Thunder rolled around the tent at Divadlo Nablizko as the opening tableaux of Third Child formed on Monday night. The stormy weather was in sympathy with the epic story of Orestes and my favourite moment of the evening was when a huge clap of thunder punctuated the line “The earth is like a mad elephant when a son murders his mother”.

The lonely character of Orestes is the central figure in Post Theater’s physical performance – one man surrounded by four women in the costumes of underwater tree nymphs. The women act as a kind of chorus, challenging Orestes, answering him, narrating and singing. Their singing was raw and powerful, and wonderfully intense against the beating rain on the tent.

There were many individual moments when the picture and sound on stage were strong and focused. Orestes’ exit was simple and surprising. The sequence where the chorus alternately seduces and rejects Orestes (as he struggles to escape his fate and realizes that Apollo has abandoned him) was impressive. The eclectic recorded music was, on the most part, successful, though when a song began with the words “what the hell is going on?”, I felt that might be a dangerous question to ask the audience. It was clear that the cast were absolutely convinced, themselves, of the integrity of what they were performing. However this intensity could not sustain an entire show. The moments did not join together to form a coherent whole. The play lacked any meaningful interaction and, even accepting Orestes as an isolated individual, the central character lacked humanity.

It is difficult, at best, to make one character connect to the audience through the medium of a stylized chorus. It requires a depth of experience and a confidence and creativity in the direction and acting, which were, unfortunately, missing from this production.

Third Child
Post Theater

Divadlo Nablizko, until 3.6, 22:00

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