AFCT, Limosani Projekts, Brink Productions. Space Theatre. 30 June 2023
Bàrbaros is a tremendous, powerfully visceral nightmare journey exploring the darkest psychological depths of the divide between civilisation and outright barbarism.
What divide? It’s a toss-up as if such a thing ever existed in Choreographer Lina Limosani’s intensely compelling production.
In a mere 55 minutes, Limosani compresses slug like beginnings of life, emergence of primeval, animal level sentience, evolving into endless warring conquer or be conquered savagery, explicitly innate to ‘civilised’ human culture for a good 2,000 years (counting pre 1 AD.)
Beautiful and terrifying to behold, dancers Anton, Jana Castillo and Rowan Rossi strike an extraordinary balance between movement offering the animalistic combined with the gestures of highly evolved political theatre we associate with power exercised from on high.
Thom Kitney’s lighting leads each phrase of the work. Every one. Most unusual but incredibly effective in psychologically reinforcing the sense of deep hellishness Bàrbaros explores. It is a perfect light design against Thom Buchanan and Renate Henschke’s set design, and Henschke’s costume design.
The biggest psychological king hit comes from Limosani’s masterful, revolutionary use Japanese black shadow puppetry, married to sound composer Sean Williams’ and James Oborn’s soundtrack.
Rowan Rossi is the shadowy dark black cloth substance which enshrouds, twists, and releases Anton and Castillo as if devouring, enslaving then spitting them out into a new phase of dark existence simultaneously embraced, yet struggled against.
This sole element of Limosani’s production is the psychological one puncturing any sense of secure belief there’s a real divide between civilisation and barbarity. The ultimate absolute heart of darkness.
Where: The Space Theatre