Surreal Spectacle La Luna, Like a David Lynch Dream
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The last date listed for La Luna, Experimental Theatre was Sunday September 4, 2005 / 4:00pm.
Currently at Chopin Theatre Mainstage
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Quotes & Highlights
“La Luna is theatrical magic”- Critic’s Choice, Chicago Reader
“Nothing in town looks or feels like this staggering collage…” – Time Out Chicago
“It’s a work of sensory pleasures, as well as a certain amount of puzzlement — what I’d characterize as the right kind, the kind that works on your subconscious in mysterious ways.” —Chicago Tribune
“… seductive imagery and powerful, sexually charged physicality evoking the striving, twisted, frustrated, self-indulgent lives of four artists” – Chicago Sun Times
Teatr Cogitatur, adept at creating uncommon imagery from utter darkness, presents La Luna in which four heroes live in one tenement. They choose to live outside the borders of the everyday existence – they must experience the joy, the tragic, the addiction, the love and the death. Teatr Cogitatur debuted in U.S. with Aztec Hotel in 2003 and returned for a second tour in 2004 with Four Dreams of Holderlin. Each production received excellent reviews and was on the Chicago Tribune’s 10 best shows of 2003 and 2004.
A winged creature. Arrival. Blackout. Three actors climb out of their boxes, portraying representations of timidity, power and sex. Transformation takes place: the person with wings – a metaphor for the unadulterated purity of the newly arrived – appears once again, and the other characters change their costumes, pick up their briefcases and stride through gateways – into a new world. In the images which follow, we (and the winged creature) observe their progress in the foreign environment.
Theatr Cogitatur’s strengths are evident in their stylistic and theatrical approach. The Poles create a choreography of powerful associative imagery using sparse stage design, consisting mainly of three boxes as tall as a man, used for entrances, exits and scene changes, finely dosed use of subdued lighting (white, blue and red spots) and music. They achieve this without ignoring the narrative element. It is not only the stylistic spectrum of the music, ranging from classical romantic moods to rock guitars to mellow, warm IDM sounds that make the acoustic medium a pleasant and important artistic means; this is intensified by its well thought-out use, neither solely for representation, nor intensification of the atmosphere – the music and sound partially take on the role of explaining the imagery, making a reading possible in the first place.
There are examples of the interplay of action, light and sound in many of the scenes; one of the most impressive of these is the opening scene. Under the neon “Aztec Hotel” sign, the arrivals lie in a room which could have born of David Lynch’s brain: warm background colours emphasize the fringe of darkness, rather drawing the darkness into the light than excluding it. A cool spotlight assaults the exhausted characters and exposes their weariness. Directly after, the textual and performative levels are intertwined. The two actors pull themselves together and hold monologues, ignoring each other. This makes it difficult for the audience to understand the words, but certainly helps them to understand the performance. This is when the actors start to be on their own, to not listen to each other – one-side communication which continues as the play proceeds. They struggle, stand in the rain, push through, seek happiness – all this is presented in rapid sequence, physically and symbolically.
In the powerful final scene – an actor lies naked, stretched out on a pile of rose petals – an end has been reached (and perhaps a new beginning). An end, which is as much the concrete end of a concrete dream, the end of a situation or the culmination of an experience, as the end of life itself, with its dreams, desires and (self)reflections.