Regional Reviews: Philadelphia
Adnan's poem is a remarkable tapestry that probes the tensions between the individual and other people, other nations, and the earth itself. Composer and music director Alex Dowling has created an eerie and bracing soundtrack for the piece. The grand stage is an enormous white half-pipe which the actors race up, slide down, delicately pull themselves across, and vigorously throw themselves against. Silvana Cardell's choreography is captivating. Vasilija Zivanic's colorful fluid costumes seem to glide along the white curve of the stage. The cast is a truly remarkable gathering of Philadelphia's most impressive talent, and it is glorious to watch them work together. These elements are each impressive on their own, but where they align, those instances are transcendent.
There are also some slow spots, too. Where the poem's meaning is difficult to understand and the actors' intentions are unclear the work becomes tedious. Given the abstract and experimental nature of There in the Light and Darkness of the Self and of the Other, pacing issues are not really surprising and they do not diminish the bright spots. With a one-hour runtime and a world of possibility, this is definitely a festival pick that should not be missed.
There in the Light and Darkness of the Self and of the Other runs through September 22, 2019, at the Wilma Theater, 265 South Broad Street, Philadelphia PA. For tickets and information, visit www.wilmatheater.org or call the box office at 215-546-7824.