Review of Un Poyo Rojo

by Lynn on November 18, 2021

in The Passionate Playgoer

Vector illustration (EPS)

Playing live and in person at the Five Points Theatre, Barrie, Ont. until Nov. 20, 2021.

Created by Hermes Gaido, Alfonso Barón, Nicolás Poggi and Luciano Rosso

Directed by Hermes Gaido

Choreographed by Nicolás Poggi and Luciano Rosso

Performed by Alfonso Barón,

Luciano Rosso

From the program information: “Un Poyo Rojo is a physical theatre piece, that started in 2008 (in Buenos Aires, Argentina) and has successfully toured worldwide. (It played Canadian Stage in 2019). With Luciano Rosso and Alfonso Barón bravely directed by Hermes Gaido, the piece playfully critiques concepts of masculinity through dance and theatre and boldly explores contemporary languages.”

For the Barrie visit, Luciano Rosso returns to Ontario with the show (he played Canadian Stage in 2019) and his partner this time is Alfonso Barón.

Every part of this bracing, funny, inventive show is part of the performance, even the warm-up. The set is simple: a bench with two bottles of water on it; a towel draped across it is in front of two lockers. On top of the locker are bottles of water and a “boom-box”.

Fifteen minutes before show time, Luciano Rosso and Alfonso Barón enter barefoot, wearing black sweat pants and undershirts, carrying more water. They warm up on either side of the stage, and do different exercises.  Luciano Rosso the taller of the two, favours a combination yoga-aerobics. Downward dog flows into planks that flow into deep pushups, not with the hands flat on the floor, but fisted, which is so hard. Alfonso Barón favours stretches, jumps and lunges.

They are in their own world and don’t interact during this ‘personal time.’ But as soon as the lights on stage go out and then up again to begin the show both performers had each other in their sights, in their spaces and even in their arms for the whole of the one-hour show.

Initially they play men in a gym who size up and then one-up each other with various contortions; hip—swiveling; head rotations. Then they segue into various dance routines from hip-hop, to ballet, modern. They vamp, strut, vogue, pose, and flounce as if on a fashion run-way, first as a man, subtle, bored, posing and then as a woman with an over-accentuated flounce, sucked in cheeks, and a condescending ‘look.’ The lines of masculinity are blurred and so are the lines of gender. They are not sending up gender issues; rather I think they are illuminating our changing world (And during the 11 years Un Poyo Rojo has been touring the world, the world has changed drastically). They turn the dial on the boom-box and tune into various radio stations (each city visited actually uses the radio stations of that city—it’s not on tape). When they hit a station with music, they start to move to that music, until the station is changed.

They change clothes in front of us and add more humour. Luciano Rosso does some business with a mouth full of cigarettes, two of which he twitches separately, that left me gasping with laughter.

And then there is the intimacy. Towards the end of the show both men are flying into each other’s arms, being flipped, held, and even kissed. It’s intimate, but not erotic. The trust each man has for the other to be there and not let him fall, is stunning. I think every single acting student should see this show so see how this closeness and trust is negotiated and realized all without the presence of an intimacy coach.

Un Poyo Rojo could be translated as “a red rooster” or a shifting of letters in the creator’s names to come up with a kind play on the names. Whatever one decides about the title, know that it’s a breathtaking show of physical dexterity, whimsy, dance, blurred lines and is very, very funny.

(Note to self just watching Alfonso Barón and Luciano Rosso warm up—start exercising! )

Talk is Free Theatre, presents:

Plays until: Saturday, Nov. 2021.

Running Time: one hour.

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