REVIEW: THE PROSE OF THE SIBERIAN AND THE LITTLE JOAN OF FRANCE
People and puppets enact Blaise Cendrars' 1913 poem about the time of the Russo-Japanese war in the unusual and touching "The Prose of the Siberian and the Little Joan of France."
By ROBIN EISGRAU
This presentation by the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre and
Contemporary Dance Wyoming blends dance, poetry and puppetry into an
elegiac, meditative potpourri.
Underneath two large pieces of lacy fabric suspended high above the stage
a wistful saxophone plays as the dancers move suitcases and trunks onto the
stage. Some are carrying crutches and they walk and pause, going places but
nowhere really. The dancers then remove their coats, revealing turn-of-the-century
white and off-white undergarments, and an actor at the rear of the
stage recites a poem in French as puppets and more dancers emerge from
trunks and suitcases.
The narrator then reads (in English) Blaise Cendrars'
1913 poem in prose about traveling on the Transsiberian Railroad through
Russia in the time of the Russo-Japanese war. The poem is a searing, vivid
document of train travel during troubled times. The Little Joan of the
poem's title is a prostitute the author seems to feel tethered to and may
very well love but if he does so it's in a way tinged with contempt.|
Dozens of puppets are maneuvered by the dancers when the narrator talks about the
war. The movements of the dancers and their deft puppetry add an intricate
visual layer to the poet's words, making them come alive in a delicate,
|APRIL 16, 2001|
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