Without Blood@ The Place (LIFT Festival 2016) Review

LOD muziektheater presents Without Blood By Inne Goris and Dominique Pauwels, part of LIFT Festival 2016. A thrilling production of spine tingling sound effects, chilling story and dynamic visual effects, Without Blood presents an aesthetic of theatre that is utterly sublime.

Without Blood

Image courtesy of Koen Broos

A show that explores the complex notion of revenge detailing the actions of two individuals. In the course of a pitiless act of revenge, a young man and a girl exchange a single glance. Unwittingly, and without a word being spoken, they are forever bound to each other. 52 years later, in a twist of fate they meet again. A production of provocative themes and compelling dialogue, this show presents a nature of intimacy drawn into the backstory, emotion and advocation of both characters.

LOD muziektheater a Ghent-based production company, present a concept and design that is both resonant and interesting. An interaction so calm, controlled and power stricken is addictive to watch. The performers, Johan Leysen, Lieve Meeussen and Mila Baeyens are riveting, presenting a dynamic performance. With an amalgamation of both spoken word and action, the text moves between first and third person narrative, applying a notion of proxemics and distance to the event being discussed. The sense of relational presence between all three characters is flawless, interplaying performance levels throughout.

Within the performance there are several moments of silence, which aid the action and development of the piece. The construct of silence is interesting to question, often appearing powerful. Exercised by both characters, silence provides a moment to contemplate the events taken place and the hindsight of inequality, brutality and revenge. Silence, appears powerful, and offers scope for interaction and internal characterisation. However, it is important to note the inclusion of sound effects within the production. Technically this show is on point, emanating a sense of the demonic, through both lighting, visual and sound effects. The show begins with a sudden blackout where the audience are immersed into a violent encounter of shooting, murderous and violent acts, all demonstrated through technical cues. The duologue of action, accompanied by the technical elements identifies Without Blood as a visual art piece, rather than stand alone theatre.

Constructed as a meeting space, primarily a restaurant, the set emanates an interrogation room, visually extended by the use of furniture. The set is disturbing, including the use of the chalk square inhabited by the young girl, forever present on stage. She has to be the most hair-raising part of the show. representing the older woman at her younger age. The girl is a ghost of the past, the little girl who watched her father die, to which the story is centrally located around. Throughout the show, the girl moves around the set and this direction is captivating. Drawing lines of chalk footprints across the stage and destroying what used to be a perfect chalk square, adds a level of theatre aesthetic that is innovative.

This performance juxtaposed by the demonic singing, calm persona of characters and enlightening dialogue is clever. It is a well balanced show that not only draws you in but wants you leaving more. Without Blood, ‘carries a secret like a disease’ provoking its characters ‘to kill out of revenge’ in a dignified framing of events. This show will entice you, it will shock you and please you, but moreover it will entertain you. I leave the production overjoyed by the aesthetic of theatre and care for detail, whilst disturbed by the story portrayed within the hour long performance. 4/5

Review written by Meg Mattravers.

Without Blood was shown at The Place from Monday 6th until Wednesday 8th June as part of this year’s LIFT Festival. For more information on LOD muziektheater, visit here…

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