Genevieve PM Roy
Currently at La Place des Arts, Finzi Pasca Company proudly presents in its world premiere;
La Verita - A theatrical and acrobatic incursion into the surrealistic world of Salvador Dali.
Last November 7th 2012, free passes were distributed online and at La Place des Arts in Montreal, for the unveiling of the huge, painted canvas curtain by Salvador Dali (last revealed publicly in 1944). This surrealistic tableau of exquisite beauty, depicting the ill fated lovers Tristan and Isolde, was a prelude to the introduction of a new show, written and produced by Swiss director Daniele Finzi Pasca (Rain, Corteo, Donka), that dually embraces aspects of surrealism and incorporates elements of dance, opera, theater and circus arts.
To give a fair review of this performance, I had to take into account both the equally positive as well as negative remarks I received as feedback from the audience during and after the show.
To those who are not familiar with the work of Salvador Dali or surrealism in general, the show is a very satisfying, theatrical circus performance on a well mounted stage, complete with strong symbolic visuals and several strong performances from a diverse cast of performers.
For those avid fans of Dali and his movement, La Verita is a piece that would need some adjustments and fine tuning; as certain acts lacked sensibility, cohesion and smooth transitions between numbers. All too often, the performers broke the dreamy momentum and brought the audiences all too quickly back to the realm of reality.
The show was designed to be broken down into a series of separate acts with a pair of clowns serving generally as the transition number between acts. At their most brilliant they stunned audience members with their quick costume change show; however their mock soldier number with pole rifles left me indifferent and honestly speaking, a little bored. The same could be said of certain acts such as the cabaret-like opening and closing scenes that included a cancan number with cast members dolled up in feathery costumes, which was visually vibrant, but quite unmemorable.
Most of the cast had been previously engaged by Cirque Eloize, Cirque du Soleil or another circus company. As an avid cirque attendee, I have to admit that to my slight disappointment, several elements of previous performances were easily recognizable. This was quite evident in the case of a pair of roller skaters twirling around a minuscule platform that echoed the much more brilliant and dynamic performance in Cirque’s du Soleil’s show Totem.
On a positive note, what made the concept of the show unique is that the Finzi Pasca creative team tried to delve into the vision of the Spanish surrealist’s universe as they presented numerous acts that strove to make his vision come to life on stage with the use of abundant props, lights, sounds and music, costumes, backdrops, choreography and not to forget, a multi - talented cast of singers, dancers, acrobats and clowns.
Some of the highlights of the show, that really spoke to me as staying true to the surrealistic vision of Dali, include a visually stunning aerial act, featuring a female performer dangling atop a grand piano being played by a rhinoceros costumed pianist, while another performer tries in vain to catch and replace sheets of music that repeatedly float upwards in a dreamy manner.
Another act that struck a chord with me was a beautiful contortionist act (performed by Felix Salas) in which a man interacts with an innocent and somewhat distant female puppet. The whole act was evocative of the delicate art of Japanese Bunraku puppetry, in which a single puppet is deftly manipulated in synchrony by a cast of numerous, darkly clad performers.
Of course, the highlight on the night was that the unforgettable Dali was given a generous amount of exposure throughout the performance and used as the backdrop for several scenes.
All in all , La Verita is a new, multi-dimensional circus performance that thrives in its use of powerful imagery and strong theatrical performances from their talented cast, but I find that the overall show somewhat lacks cohesion, sensibility and could be further reworked.
La Verita is currently running at Théâtre Maisonneuve, Place des Arts until February. 9th .
Price range from $35.75 to $67.75.
Call 514-842-2112 or visit www.pda.qc.ca.