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idiosyncratic mechanical gestures with catatonic insistence: Fiordiligi pounds a wall with machine-like rhythm; Alfonso hunches over a table swinging his arms like a pendulum; Ferrando whirls like a dervish at the center of the stage. By ironizing Mozart's and Da Ponte's resolution, Sellars makes his production unmistakably contemporary; any other Cosi would not make sense in a world that resists neat and tidy solutions. He restores the bitter seriousness Mozart must have intended for Cosi. The gash he rends in the artificial grace that has cloaked that world and this opera enable a spectator to see into the actual disarray. Sellars correctly razes sham structures for human relationships (as Alfonso says of his disguise plot, he "deceives to undeceive"), but he forsakes the chance to analyze those relationships and the reasons for the tragedy. Sellars's picture is accurate; but isn't there a way to pick up, sift through, and examine the pieces? Does Sellars save a moment to ask why and how? Ke Voi? Enzo Cormann Directed by Philippe Adrien L'ARRT, Th6itre de la Tempete (Paris) Rosette Lamont Enzo Cormann's latest spectacle-he calls it a collective creation by the actors of L'ARRT, Philippe Adrien, the director of the company, who also staged Cormann's "Rbves de Kafka," and the writer-is less a play than a stage poem, the fragmented image of a utopian/dystopian society of the third millennium. The play is set in what Cormann calls a kind of "no place." It is the interior of an Egyptian pyramid, the tomb of the imaginary Pharoah Aktenoctis (his name means "act of night," thus suggesting dreams and dream enactments ). The tiled space, as efficient and aseptic as a hospital or a morgue, is dominated by a modern sarcophagus on wheels, something between a marble slab and a stretcher. Upon it lies a man, dead or sound asleep. The whole play might be his dream. Dressed in a dark business suit, he is an incontrovertible presence. The audience fills the benches to the sound of a muffled, mournful chime, and, from the back of the stage, a group of mourners enters slowly, men in black, and heavily veiled women. They progress haltingly in the direction of the lifeless figure. There is an expressionistic aura about them, as though they had emerged from Pirandello's Six Characters or a Fellini film. As the mourners crowd around the body, covering it with a shroud, one can no longer clearly observe what is happening to the dreamer/corpse. A 81 priest, dressed in Eastern-looking vestments suggestive of the Russian or Greek Orthodox ritual, moves to the foreground carrying a censer. The procession circles round the sarcophagus. Suddenly the audience becomes aware that the body under the shroud has slipped out to join the dancers, yielding its place to one of them. A series of rapid substitutions take place, as though a magician shuffled bodies, mixing eros and thanatos. Finally, the last enshrouded corpse sits up, then, rising slowly, stands upon the slab. The priest falls back in horror as the shroud is cast off by a woman, her face covered by a grinning death mask, but her body that of a maenad. She breaks into a wild, life-affirming dance. Following her lead, the erstwhile mourners begin to couple in the semi-darkness. They strike acrobatic poses, writhe on the floor, or slide onto the vacant marble slab. It is an orgy of heterosexual and homosexual encounters. The Egyptian tomb has turned into a massage parlor. The orgiasts strip off their black garb; now they are dressed in short exercise tunis, or wrapped in towels. As they go through rhythmic dance steps, a glass tomb suggestive of museum display cases, or a sauna carved into the stage wall on the audience's right, is lit up. Clouds of steam begin to escape, filling the stage, enrobing the front rows of the theatre. The tiled tomb now looks like Roman baths, or a spa where a combination of gymnastics , sex and psychodrama have been prescribed to effect a psychic and physical regeneration. It is a caricature of encounter groups, mind-bending centers and American...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1537-9477
Print ISSN
1520-281X
Pages
pp. 81-83
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Open Access
No
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