Trading Faces, The Man Who Woke Up In The Dark

Review in Issue 9-4 | Winter 1997

The Man Who Woke Up In The Dark is the life story of Leonardo Da Vinci told through half masks, mime, dance and conventional theatre on a small stage that appeared much larger through judicious use of space.

The play opened with characters emerging from under the set, which immediately fired the imagination and set the tone for a rumbustious ride through the creation of the Mona Lisa, the invention of the helicopter, and the intervention of wicked landlords and a tragic/comic prostitute. Phoebe Soteriades, as Maturina the whore, was magnificent as she fell in love with the young Leonardo, only to discover he loved his inventions more than her ample physical attributes. Landlord Jonathan Ferguson, all thrusting hips and cockerel walk, created chaos whenever he appeared; stealing money and causing grievous bodily harm to everybody in his way.

In complete contrast was Tony Davis’ gentle Leonardo, lost in a world of his own inventions and totally oblivious to the real world, as he drew up magnificent plans, painted the Mona Lisa and in the final scene created a flying machine from the framework of his bed.

The half masks give the play an enigmatic air, exaggerating the characters beneath them and bringing an exciting dynamism to the whole project. This was quite brilliantly done and it is easy to see why Trading Faces are such a success.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 1997

This article in the magazine

Issue 9-4
p. 24