Butoh-inspired love story
This article is from 2007.
‘Please take off your shoes,’ said the sign by the door. So we did, expecting some form of audience participation on a delicate floor. Instead, the entire show passed with no involvement for our stockinged/bare feet whatsoever. The real reason didn’t hit me until I was home, hours later – but I won’t spoil it for you.
In fact the whole ethos behind Paria is designed to stay with you long after you’ve left the theatre. The show’s central message is one of love, tolerance and the need to embrace change. The eponymous Paria lives in a town shrouded in darkness. When she dares to inject some light into the community, she is ostracised and sent down a well. There she meets a like-minded soul, but the townspeople are too fearful of their love to let them live in peace, and a tragic end ensues.
This two-handed, Butoh-inspired piece is less straightforward than its narrative suggests. Long, meaningful pauses and loud vocal angst pepper the 50-minute piece, and not everyone will buy into Paria’s theme of human potential. If you do, however, then this show is like a gentle cleansing of the soul.
One half of Paria’s male/female duo can also be seen in the five star show, Six Women Standing In Front Of A White Wall – and while this may not have quite the same punch, it’s still worthy of investigation. (Kelly Apter)
Sweet ECA, 0870 241 0136, until 25 Aug, 2.30pm, £7 (£6).