Most often seen at sea, in that area that rests just above the horizon, a Fata Morgana is a type of complex mirage superstitiously named after the Arthurian sorceress Morgan le Fay. It’s a fitting title for writer and performer Margherita Remotti’s one-person, psychedelic look at the difficult life of musician, model, and muse Nico. Like an image shimmering down the line of a sailor’s gaze, the play proves to be a visually arresting, but substantively elusive piece of theatre.
A visually arresting, but substantively elusive piece of theatre
Nico, born Christa Päffgen, is perhaps best remembered for her time as a singer with the Warhol-championed rock band The Velvet Underground, and Remotti does a fair job of capturing the depth and Teutonic-tinged breathiness of the musician’s unique voice. Backgrounded by shifting, hallucinatory images projected onto the rear of the stage, the performer presents fragments of a life which range from a harrowing rape, to a tumultuous relationship with her son, to her entanglements with Jim Morrison.
It’s a dreamy existential representation which is shaped by accounts of Nico’s relationships with men, and the internal motivations and substance of the woman at the core of the play somewhat cast adrift. The script is a string of dialogue and song which, though admirably performed, is often overwrought and laden with the sort of poetic outpourings which at least as many people will find vacuous as achingly meaningful.
Much like the material of the script, Remotti’s performance is by turns flighty, wistful, and angst-ridden. It’s certainly committed, but difficult to pin down. One thing that is for certain is that this is a distinctive portrayal of a singular individual which may well appeal to those with a taste for nebulous meaning and a visual flourish.