Bestiaires @ Traverse
An attempt to describe Dudapaiva's Bestiaires to anyone who hasn't seen it will inevitably fall short of the scale, skill, and thought behind this performance. Part of the Manipulate festival celebrating visual theatre, film and object manipulation (aka puppetry), the premise of the show itself is quite hilarious: the Greek gods are on a mission to drag Greece's name out of the mud and restore the country to its former glory. They do this by touring their cabaret-style show across Europe. Compered by Cupid – who has a blonde wig and a gun instead of a bow and arrow – the performance features a few deities, namely Persephone, Hades, Zeus, Athena, and Medusa.
Using puppets that seem to have stepped out of a Tim Burton film, the cast breathe life into the Greek Gods, and appear to make a ritual out of tales that could have been part of their mythology. The economic crisis is mentioned in passing, as are quite a few other notions, like questions about the existence of God, but none of these are fully explored. Nonetheless, Bestiaires' cast of three takes full advantage of both the episodic cabaret format and the anthropomorphic nature of the Greek gods; they lust after each other, get angry, and are vengeful, qualities that seem to have been eradicated in monotheistic religion. The result makes for a hilarious yet occasionally sinister performance that fuses object manipulation with live performance, dance, and multimedia. [Eric Karoulla]