Review: DIVE

by Lynn on August 4, 2015

in The Passionate Playgoer

At Arraymusic, 155 Walnut Ave., Toronto, Ont.

Freely adapted by Richard Sanger from Giuseppe Di Lampedusa’s “The Professor and the Siren”
Directed by Alex Fallis
Composed by Nik Beeson
Set by Scott Penner
Costumes by Nina Okens
Lighting by Simon Rossiter
Sound by Andy Trithardt
Starring: Matthew Gouveia
Fides Krucker
Earl Pastko

A fascinating piece loaded with atmosphere and the glorious sounds from Fides Krucker.

The Story. Playwright Richard Sanger has freely adapted the story The Professor and the Siren by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa. In the story Paolo Corbera, a journalist and womaniser and Rosario La Ciura a celebrated and cynical professor of classics meet in a bar in a small town in Sicily. They talk of life and its sensual pleasures and women. One day Rosario tells Paolo of his incredible, erotic affair with a mermaid or siren if you will. He was in a boat and there she was. They had a torrid affair for three weeks. He had been one of many lovers for her, but she said he was her favourite. She wanted him to follow her. Well, he couldn’t could he? She spoiled him for any other woman. Paolo listens in amazement and is almost transported himself.

The Production. The production just oozes atmosphere. The audience sits around small, round tables with a candle in the middle. Scott Penner has created a space with swaths of opaque sheeting billowing from the ceiling. It gives the space a sense of water and clouds. Andy Trithardt has created a soundscape of creaking rigging, waves crashing, the far-off haunting voice of a singer-siren calling to a lost lover. Director Alex Fallis has guided his creative team and cast to bring that fantastical/real work to life in a smooth melding.

As Paolo and Rosario banter and discuss over regular visits to the little bar, the mermaid-siren is always present. Fides Krucker plays her with a combination ethereal-magical presence. Sometimes she sings hauntingly (Nik Beeson wrote the music), sometimes she shrieks to make a point, or is guttural. The performance runs the gamut and it’s always arresting.

As Rosario, Earl Pastko is tall, slim and striking looking. His voice is silky. However, one wishes he had more nuance and variation. As Paolo, Matthew Gouveia is courtly and fresh-faced as the younger man who finds the older professor fascinating.

It’s an interesting piece combining music and story-telling in a classical sense.

Comment. I so wish that production collectives and companies would get wise to how important it is to print the dates of the run of the production on the program along with a clear indication of how folks can get tickets and either a phone number or website and the actual name and address (if necessary) of the theatre in which the production takes place.

The Mermaid Collective with the generous support of Arraymusic presents:

Opened: August 1, 2015
Closes: August 9, 2015.
Cast: 3; 2 men, 1 woman.
Running Time: 75 minutes.

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