Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Told by the Wind

The Llanarth Group , Chapter Arts Centre Cardiff , January-31-10
Told by the Wind by The Llanarth Group This is a kind of kinetic work of fine art, though the painter works alone, here the work has arisen from a symbiosis of three very experienced and deeply sensitive artists working in perfect harmony from the inception of the project to its presentation.

A man, not young, in crumbled clothes sits at an old white bureau. He is looking out through a window, the coming of autumn troubles him, he recalls he is not comfortable walking with the dew on the ground. He turns his head inwards, he may be looking for the younger woman who is sitting at the other side of the stage, She turns her head, she may be looking for him. As the wind gently blows forward their movements intermingle. They never meet. Did they know each other once? Are they yearning for each other? Are they just figures passing by in the evening light?

Writer Kaite O’Reilly and performers Phillip Zarrilli and Jo Shapland have invited another consummate artist to enable them to complete their landscape. Lighting designer Ace McCarron paints the stage pictures with a delicate warm autumn gold complementing the dreamlike quality of the action. The long quiet stillness of the opening sequence has us questioning it in the early moments but very soon we are captivated, mesmerised we, well for me anyway I was drawn into a dream like state and I shared my dream with the figures on the stage before me completely drawn into an aesthetic inspired by Japanese Theatre of Quietude.

They were able to evoke so much emotion with such simplicity. Zarrilli elegantly stumbled in the light whilst Shapland ran and danced with spirited elegance. There might well be a touch of Svengali and Trilby, but with only benign influences here. Jo Shapland, multi-disciplinary artist, choreographer, and performer trained with Zarrrilli for ten years. Phillip Zarrilli is internationally known for training actors in psychophysical process through Asian martial/meditation arts. He runs a private studio (Tyn-y-parc C.V.N. Kalari/Studio) in Wales, and conducts workshops throughout the world. His latest highly acclaimed publication: Psychophysical Acting: an intercultural approach after Stanislavski is now regarded as essential reading for everyone working and exploring this field.

Kaite O’Reilly is one of Wales’ most successful playwrights. She is now working on a new version of Aeschylus’ Persians to be directed by Mike Pearson for the National Theatre of Wales in August.

Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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