Skazka: Told By Night (Scarecrow Theatre)

skazka1Venue: New Theatre (Newtown NSW), Sep 18 – 28, 2013
Dramaturg: Finn Davis
Director: Jonathan Dunk
Actors: Zerrin Craig-Adams, Finn Davis, Jonathan Dunk, Lucinda Howes, Caitlin West, Jem Rowe

Theatre review
Sometimes a quiet revolution takes place, and it creeps up on you in the darkness of the theatre and taps you on your shoulder. Scarecrow Theatre’s show in this year’s Sydney Fringe is so utterly original that it makes you feels like you had been hiding under a rock, while a group of youngsters were out creating something so beyond expectation and convention, that when you encounter it for the first time, you get the sense that the times, well, they are a-changin’.

Skazka: Told By Night is a work that springboards from real and imagined folk tales, and uses them to explore the space between form and content in the theatre. These six performers have created a visual piece with an emphasis on physicality and movement rather than dance. Also important are the sounds they create with speech and song, but the relationship between what we see and what we hear is not always of a logical coherence. There is however, a powerful consistency in a certain melancholy and beauty, which the six actors achieve with an amazing uniformity in their style of performance. This group demonstrates a chemistry so intense and deep, that they feel almost like a singular idiosyncratic organism, all pulsating with a common heartbeat. It is an unusual language they share, and we read them with fascination and awe.

Sets, props, and lighting are used minimally, and the only sounds we hear are from the actors. Yet, the show is mesmerising. It puts you in a strange state of trance, where you are absorbed into the activity on stage, and stop thinking. It is a kind of meditation that takes place, and a stillness that is experienced, even while fighting, tears and death are on show. It also bolsters your imagination. We effortlessly create in our minds, menacing forests and bitterly cold lakes around the actors. All dark, and all beautiful.

Art rewards those who choose to travel the road not taken. We live in an age of post-modern fatigue that no longer believes in originality, but in Skazka, something fresh and radical is created, and we fall into its spell of dreamy night stories.…