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cadavre exquis

CADAVRE2Undeniably this theatre work is inventive, unconventional, modern, well-performed and, given that it includes film, dance, music, actors stripping to their underwear, and even a person in a gorilla suit, a production of commendable variety. For some, no doubt, it was an enjoyable testament to surrealism. It is suggested, however, that, judging by the number of the audience seen looking at their watches during the performance, for many the work was an unmitigated nonsense.

The concept behind the work was that three of the four directors from different theatre companies made up a 15 minute segment after having seen the last 60 seconds of the preceding segment, with the fourth director working up the initial part and having, as it were, a second bite by providing the fifth and closing segment. It is a concept adapted from a fairly universal children’s game, and it could well be a great way of developing the skills of people studying in a school for theatre. However to allow it to be the subject of a public performance which the public is charged to watch, is a pure conceit!

Each director brought an actor to the whole performance, the four actors then placing themselves in the hands of the directors. The actors were a talented and brave group, their only fault being in exercising poor judgment in agreeing to take part in what was, by its very design, bound to be chaotic. Indeed, each actor strongly projected a sense of being totally mystified over what was being said and done, and one suspects that was exactly how each actually felt.

It was an honest show. About half way through it the audience was invited to leave should that be desired. Indeed, at the very beginning the audience was invited to “adjust your expectations”, though no hint then was given over in which direction that adjustment should be made.

The production, on the whole, was seamless. One clear fault though was in the first segment, where what the actors said was projected onto a screen behind them, which was totally distracting. The opening and closing segments where film and live action merged were clever. However, when one’s lasting memory of a production is a dancing gorilla, then that is a show which, contrary to the adage, should definitely not go on.

A Sydney Festival event, CADAVRE EXQUIS, a Theatre of Chance by Kassys production, played at Carriageworks on the 17th, 18th and 19th January, 2014


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