The Sacred Room of Desire

The Sacred Room of Desire, written and directed by Carola Benedetto tells the story of the Hindu pantheon family of Shiva, Parvati and Ganesha. Though this story is nicely told, it is also the show’s downfall. We are not seeing a piece of theatre so much as the telling of a story with some (beautiful as they may be) dance interludes.

Samar as the Dancer is graceful and generous with her performance.

Susanna Paisio is the Narrator who is the focus of the play. The fact that the Narrator is the focus of the play is the crux of the problem for me. Paisio certainly puts in the effort but her delivery feels lacking in connection, probably due to the narration role she takes on. As she is always charmingly animated and her descriptions often joyful, this style would work far better in a children’s show. They do, however, fall short of what essential theatre requires - the spark of connection and truth.

Samar as the Dancer is graceful and generous with her performance. If anything, I would say there could have been more dance overall as the way in which it aids the storytelling is the most theatrical element of the show.

I am a fan of colour-blind casting – however, being a story about Hindu gods, this piece would have benefited from a fully Indian cast. This would have helped to bring us further into the show. Overall more stagecraft would have added to this piece as it lacks a certain zazazz. Further developing the script would also help, as currently there is a touch of over-egging of the play’s theme of desire. 

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The Blurb

The most gorgeous Indian stories of desire. A blend of words and classical/bollywood dance graciously adapted from Hindu tradition, describe a very special God's family: Parvati, daughter of the Himalaya Mountains; Shiva, the intemperate husband and most powerful hermit; Ganesha, the joyful and gluttonous elephant-headed son. Together with unexpected divine relatives, friends and enemies and a great lot of heartbreak and unattended happiness! Text and direction by Carola Benedetto, narrator Susanna Paisio, choreographer and dancer Samar, costume designer Luciana Ciliento, lighting designer Chiara Zappavigna.

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