d(ARE)/Here Be Lions
Theatre of Europe’s production values in d(ARE)/Here Be Lions are seriously impressive and more than match the Print Room’s splendidly atmospheric new venue the Coronet. It’s a serious shame therefore that the second and longest part of this double bill, Stephane Olry’s hour-long play, is such a dreadfully dull dud.
First up is Sandrine Buring’s disquieting d(ARE), however. Both Buring and Olry completed artistic residencies at the Hopital de la Roche-Guyon, a hospital for children with severe neurological difficulties in France.
Buring gets it right. She enters the space and caresses the large hanging belljar before swinging herself into its constricted glass frame. She contorts her muscular body into different shapes, groaning and breathing heavily and morphing into an inhuman physical thing. She is both trapped and comfortable within her glass case. It’s a strange and compelling spectacle, but it doesn’t justify the next hour.
Here Be Lions fills the Coronet’s ghostly main space with a pea soup fog. Hayley Carmichael reads Olry’s textual response to Buring’s piece with acrobatic dynamism, but the material is far too florid and heavy to allow any space for our own imaginative involvement. There’s no drama in this overly poetic diatribe and it is a stultifying hour as opposed to Buring’s silent illumination.