The Happiest Medium review by guest contributor Rebecca Bernard
A man and a woman wake up in bed beside each other, neither one recognizing the other and then going about their day. This is the premise or idea behind Contrasts, a highly physical story that “reveals the ever-present contrasts between men and women.”
Much happens in this hour long duo performance, conceived and performed by Dana Cavaleru and Richard Bovnoczki. The gifted performers transition from scene to scene with little dialogue, creating beautiful pictures and humorous scenes. Familiar and not so familiar scenes are explored through the specific style of theatre the two Romanian actors have developed; a fresh combination of pantomime, dance and theatre. A stand out scene includes the recreation of a black and white picture, complete with scratchy erratic movements that Bovnoczki depicted so well the night I attended that the audience burst into applause. Dialogue introduced in the performance doesn’t distract – it sparkles, proving that both the performers’ voices and the use of different languages are as engaging as their physicality.
Though beautiful moments are created and the premise is strong, the play does not entirely follow through. One is not quite sure who the characters are. Is the man and woman the same man and woman throughout, or are they musings on a theme? Each scene ends and goes into another, often with the absence of a transition to help make sense of this. And though the performers’ miming is often very good, this same lack of follow through shows up at times when an object is created and suddenly dropped, breaking the illusion it created for the audience. Half way through the actors start to include the audience, reacting to breaths, sighs and reactions from the audience.
Though this quality is nice, it becomes confusing since it wasn’t present from the beginning of the piece. Overall, though, the contrast of confusion to beauty, inventiveness and fun wins over the audience, making Contrasts a joy to watch.
Richard Bovnoczki and Dana Cavaleru
Director: Richard Bovnoczki, Dana Cavaleru
Theatre. Pantomime. Dance. Original stage vocabulary. Stories that make you laugh or cry. Two Romanian actors revealing contrasts. An ever changing imaginary set. Several European Awards. “If Tom and Jerry saw this show they would have reasons to be envious.”
1h 0m International Bucharest, Romania
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VENUE #19: HERE Dorothy B. Williams Theater
Wed 15 @ 8 Thu 16 @ 4:15 Sat 18 @ 6 Sun 19 @ 8:15 Tue 21 @ 7 Thu 23 @ 7