On paper, Taragona Theatre’s Chrysalis should not work: a physical theatre piece in black box of the Etcetera theatre above a pub, exploring women’s path in life. In practice, Mariana Taragona and her team have created a gorgeous gem, which should be seen.
One of the performance’s impressive elements is the live music on stage: Natalie Rozario on cello and Monica Taragano on flute provide parts of this performance’s soundtrack , not just as accompanists but also by interacting on stage. Their presence helps create the mood and functions as sounding board for Mariana’s woman to react off.
Chrysalis is incredibly creative and shows what you can do with limited provisions on stage: even the lighting, so often a challenge in small black boxes adds to the performance. By keeping it simple, what’s on stage cannot distract you from the action.
If that was at all possible: Mariana’s movements are mesmerizing, proving a very skilled dancer who fluidly makes her way across the stage. Portraying a woman’s life from birth, she transforms herself through the life’s different stages. Avoiding cliché and at times abstracting moments to one movement, the piece still remains recognisable to its audience. Physical theatre pieces can take movement-distillation so far, they lose the audience’s attention but Chrysalis seems to have found a balance. It is also funny: a reluctant schoolgirl or the insecure teenager gave it entertainment points in my book.
The dynamic shifts when woman meets man, in this case the wonderful watchable Tunde Olasupo. Yes, here comes man and look at him move! The two dancers shift animatedly together, engaging in an identifiable tug of war between the two sexes. An amusing modern pas-de-deux embodies a timeless reference to young lovers. Just the way these two lovebirds set up house pays testimony again to Taragano theatre’s creativity.
My only concern was that the piece at times was so passionate that the stage seemed too small. However, the only solution would be to transfer this performance onto a bigger stage. Only three performances seem a shame, especially as this show starts at 3pm. Chrysalis is only 40 minutes so catch it in a late lunch break or just pop in for the cultural highlight of your day.