FIT 20: Duelling Duos Disarm with Delight

Wingspan Theatre presents Landscape by Harold Pinter, with Van Quattro and Moira Wilson. Lowell Sargeant photo

A disarming duet of duos….FIT20, the Festival of Independent Theatres, opened this past weekend with a dynamite pair of two person shows that emerge from separate ends of the universe but make an entirely simpatico evening of theatrical whimsy for audiences into experiencing sensory immersion perched on the edge of daring. Catch this pair together or apart. You won’t despair.

Wingspan Theatre, a founding member of the FIT, presents Nobel Prize-winning Brit Harold Pinter’s Landscape. Originally produced as a radio play, Landscape was first staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company in London in 1969 with Peggy Ashcroft and David Waller, directed by Sir Peter Hall. At the FIT it features the mature talents and savoir-faire of Van Quattro and Moira Wilson. Seated apart, facing forward on the Bath House Cultural Center stage, the two recall and relive intense moments of marital passion, love and doubt exclusively through the vibrant, heightened, carefully curated language of this master playwright. In absent-minded fashion, Quattro pours and sips a cup of tea as the only action in the performance. Through language in turn austere, luscious and lilting with a nod to British accents, the two actors convey an entrancing depth of emotion and experience that fills the stage with palpable, gritty passion. Nary a glance passes between the pair. Not needed. Kudos to Director Susan Sargeant for her mastery of creative restraint that allows the superb script to soar through Quattro and Wilson’s intensely focused performances. Sophistication is alive and well here at the FIT.

Prism Movement Theatre presents Bruno and Louie by Jeffrey Colangelo, with Rafael Tamayo and Omar Padilla

In contrast, Prism Movement Theatre erupts on the stage with a resonant, raucous explosion of mime-based movement and sound effect entertainment entitled Bruno and Louie, created and directed by regional movement specialist Jeffery Colangelo. The two mimes, played explosively by Rafael Tamayo and Omar Padilla, take clowning to quixotic levels in a fantasy search for fame and fortune that leads them far astray as the audience howls with delight and engages in some unanticipated participation (if seated down front). A fresh work, it could use judicious editing, particularly in a table tennis sequence. Aside from that, it functions perfectly in contrast to the cerebral, verbal focus of Landscape. Theatre can take audiences to disparate, worthy places in kaleidoscopic array. Serendipity may have placed these two works together at the FIT, but they work so well in tandem as valid celebration of performance’s capacity to engage and inform. Colangelo could not have cast two more expressive, fearless mime/clowns in this region than Tamayo and Padilla. Edge of seat performances, yummy! Thanks, David Meglino, for continuing to produce the FIT.

Check the FIT schedule online for the shows’ future appearances.

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