Striking Visual Theatre – The Neighbors Grief is Greener

Boldly, brashly and bravely were the archetypal images of 1950s Americana – housewives, pinup gals, the hierarchy of popularity recreated onstage, stretched to the max and then turned upsidedown in colourful, extraordinary, bombastic fashion.

Every element layered and contributing to immediately transporting me to a different time and place; from costume silhouette, to the Frank Sinatra/Dragnet radio/I Love Lucy soundscore, to the attitude of the ensemble.

Four women and one man inhabit a stereotypical character: the pure and perfect housewife; Marilyn Monroe sexpot; and distant, dominant male. The other two woman represented ideals rather than a stereotype for me; we had a woman who had literally buried her head in the sand and a woman who wasn’t accepted by the other females who also dreamed of being a gymnast…?! While this last character doesn’t necessarily add neatly to the row of archetypes laid out at the beginning of the piece; the performer’s passionate routine, flinging herself through the pool of “blood” that covered most of downstage from an earlier vignette, her desperation to break out of her boundaries as the woman who is ignored and trivialised by the others, strikes a chord with the constraints of the women and men sharing the stage.

While occasionally frustrated by the breaks in continuity of conventions (why do they acknowledge each other’s presence in some scenes yet insist on being invisible in others?!), the clarity of images created through clever movement and design (the revelation in the opening moments of a humorous cooking programme turned murder scene is one of my favourite moments from Stoff 2013) married with a strong point of view led to a satisfying hour spent in the company of Emmanuella Amichai Visual Theatre.

The Neighbors Grief is Greener,
Emanuella Amichai visual theatre

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