Imitating the Dog, Ark

Review in Issue 11-4 | Winter 1999

Winners of last year’s National Student Drama Festival, Imitating the Dog are currently touring their second show, Ark. Three travellers seek refuge on an island that floats in a sea of blue cloth. A storm is coming and the end of the world is nigh. An eclectic soundtrack combines random snippets collected by searching the radio airwaves, whilst the travellers try to discover where they are. This process throws up memories that are completely disconnected from the dramatic present; empty memories that provide no clues to the characters’ identity, but that heighten their sense of isolation and loss.

For a company who work primarily from text, Imitating the Dog are physically versatile and committed: negotiating hurting suitcases, throwing cans of water, and running around a small, soaking set. The second half almost entirely comprises physical stunts and cheesy dance routines, that become increasingly ridiculous as the characters grow increasingly desperate and the performers increasingly more exhausted. In the final, poignant scene the travellers – having slowly piled the island with rags – don their over-large raincoats and sink incredibly slowly to the ground, and under the sea of blue cloth.

The performance draws on references ranging from the films of Tarkovsky and religious iconography, to the philosophical writings of de Certeau. Ark is a gripping and original piece of theatre, but will benefit from some tightening and polishing as it continues to tour.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Nov 1999

This article in the magazine

Issue 11-4
p. 25