Rotozaza, Rotozaza 5 [Grace]

Review in Issue 13-1 | Spring 2001

Rotozaza are known for innovative projects like 73, the traffic jam chaos-causing karaoke bicycle installation that halted the Stoke Newington Festival in 2000, and Bloke, where the performer has no idea what is expected of him during the show. Director Anthony Hampton has a very idiosyncratic and distinct approach to making ‘New Theatre’. Whatever our expectations or requirements are as an audience, Hampton may thwart them, but he never bores us.

Grace takes the almost indefinable shape of an internal dialogue, played out as a rehearsal process. Equipment litters the stage, a plethora of paraphernalia (the mess of the unquiet mind?): tape machines, lights, microphone, stuff everywhere.

Two performers, Zhana Ivanova and Sylvia Mercuriali, seem to represent the two parts of the dual character, and take us through an internal journey that is held together only by the random logic of the private mind. Through a series of vignettes, we are taken through the constantly changing nature of the self’s relationship with itself. This is initially a very closed piece and one starts to wonder ‘Why bother with an audience?’ – at which moment Matt Rudkin’s ‘bloke from the pub’ comes in, giving the show a chance to open up by asking questions. Once we are let in, there are many touching moments, mainly due to the telepathic complicity between Ivanova and Mercuriali, who have developed a wonderfully intimate stage relationship.

This is a work in progress and as such is likely to be changing every night. It is disappointing for this reviewer, however, that the huge scope for comedy and lightness isn’t exploited and that a piece that is potentially very moving, remains director’s theatre rooted firmly in the mind.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Feb 2001

This article in the magazine

Issue 13-1
p. 27