30/06/2010 at 4:18 pm 1 comment

presented by The Rabble & Carriageworks, June 2010

This is a critic’s worst nightmare. A play that defies reduction into words; that leaves you speechless, with not one single thing to say as it sinks into your psyche, slowly, with a soft, gentle malice. It’s got you. Later, still pondering – I managed to describe the feeling CAGELING left me with: “I feel penetrated”. And it’s certainly a post-coital sensation as you leave the theatre, having been given a good hard mind-fuck for the course of an hour and change. Sweet Jesus. Go and see this fucking show. Reading about it is not good enough. Writing about it is nigh impossible.

But I’ll do my very best to try. So, where to begin? It’s a play with its own set of conventions, the world contained within is its own rituals, its own utterly absurd rules; archaic behaviours and fluid nightmares. It’s self aware. It knows you’re watching. It tries to keep up appearances for you and fails and then it tries to forget and can’t and falls into anxiety. It’s trapped. That’s the metaphor of CAGELING, to represent a vicious cycle of a tradition stuck in bloodless futurism. Paranoid of change, collapsing in on empty gesture and the familial wreckage of denial. It’s total expressionism, but frighteningly real.

At the other end of town we’re getting a similar take on the claustrophobic folds of family; the Eugene O’Neill modern classic in the realist mode. On the way out I quipped thank Christ they didn’t work out their issues with dialogue laden with subtext around the kitchen table. I suppose that’s the only comparison I can make with a family unit so impregnated with dysfunction – such a tired device in drama nowadays; while this show manages to avoid the obvious while dealing expressly with the same societal issue. Apparently it’s also based on a classic text The House of Bernada Alba by Federico Garcia Lorca. I didn’t know this going in and didn’t need to coming out – it is its own growling beast, relying less on text but providing a rich and visceral theatre of sound and image. That text is not one I am familiar with anyway and it doesn’t matter. The point is that CAGELING shows how theatre can make its own rules, so long as it sticks with them, it can provide a lingering, dangerous and immediate experience with a raw humour and capacity for the shock of a smashed mirror in the face of its audience.

Fuck it, i’m using too many adjectives. Just go and see it before the week is out. You won’t get another chance. I need a cigarette just thinking about it.

CAGELING plays at Carriageworks, Bay 20 until July 3rd.

Entry filed under: Dance/ Physical Theatre, Inside Theatre REVIEWS, New Work. Tags: , , , .

if only we knew now what we knew then… TURN IT UP: ALL THE WAY TO ELEVEN

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VICTOR SANCZ vassanc [AT] gmail.com

since 2009

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