Muaré, which addressed questions of freedom, of what it is to exist on the margins, to live many lives in one body, was one of the plays staged at the Bharat Rang Mahotsav, curated by the National School of Drama. The festival will be on till January 20
Two women in an undefined place that exists at the fringes of a party, some social affair. Two women who, over the course of an hour, inhabit and explore this space of indecision, and their own bodies.
Muaré, from the French word ‘moiré', is the visual experience created when two repetitive patterns overlap, a natural interference phenomena that creates ripples and waves where there could be none. The play, conceptualised, directed and performed by Natalia Lopez and Marina Quesada, attempted just this — to break down the movement of body and speech, to change their frequencies, their wavelengths, their brightness and beliefs, to place them in various moulds. With a detached curiosity. To see how bodies react.
The piece was based on one of Clarice Lispector's last works, A Breath of Life, a fragmentary novel that is a conversation between an author and one of his characters. And like the novel, the play addressed questions of freedom, of what it is to exist on the margins, to live many lives in one body.
To one side, there is a door that leads offstage, to the Other, gently glowing. They open it with disastrous consequences — to be covered in glitter and foam, to get lost, to be chased. Yet they are drawn to it, and in consequence, must abandon all their notions of freedom.
It was intensely physical theatre, having bodies undulate, having them fall, having them destroyed. But there was much that seemed lost in the spaces in between the questions, slipping through the cracks like light.
They came close to it at times — “Why is everybody looking at me?” one of them asks the other, in panic, their gazes unsteady, all of the underlying insecurities emerging.
But left unexplored, the performance tended to slip dangerously into repetition, one that lay only on the surface, saying little else.
But Natalia and Marina expressed the surreal, the strange, exquisitely — a theatre of anguish filled with angry, erotic energy. Flowing, freezing, feeling.
On stage, there is a sofa strewn with clothes and a stark table — commonplace, everyday objects that contrast darkly, marvellously, with the aberrant movements of the actors.
And it was to the credit of Eduardo Perez Winter and Adrian Grimozzi for playing with the lights to balance it all. And a lot of times, it was the music, designed by Jorge Grela, that asked all the questions — Are they free? Because of the music or in spite of it?
As they drape body over body, bathed in cold blue light, Muaré, despite it all, jarred you from your linear thinking, unsettled you — just enough.
The plays are held at Sir Mutha Venkata Subba Rao Concert Hall and Museum Theatre. For details call, 98946 09061.