On January 31 Engineering Theatre AKHE will present their poetic reconstruction of Gobo's life.
“Gobo. Digital Glossary” is a poetic reconstruction of Gobo’s life. This is a collection of his shadows, snapped with Polaroid; it’s the shadows themselves dropped by Gobo as useless; it’s his favorite song transferred to his mobile phone via infrared port; it’s melodeclamation of his awkward rhymes, unfunny jokes and Freudian keyslips. It is a text of Gobo’s life and death. It is an indelible pencil, which Gobo unsuccessfully uses to correct the mistakes in the text.
- Production: AKHE THEATER
- Objects: Maksim Isaev, Pavel Semchenko
- Performed by: Maksim Isaev, Pavel Semchenko
- Video: Michailov Oleg, Maria Nebesnaya
- Light: Vadim Gololobov
- Sound: Andrey Sizintsev
Akhe Engineering Theatre defies categorisation. Presented under the banner of the 2011 London International Mime festival, its latest piece, Gobo. Digital Glossary, offers an exploration of humanity's powerlessness in the face of the chaos of existence. At the centre of the performance is the elusive notion of Gobo, a concept definable only by its absence. Ironic references to heroism and the hero suggest that Gobo might be some kind of ordering principle, perhaps based on antique notions of virtue. A self-deluding dream that a Beckett character might cling to.
Or not, because this event resists all efforts at interpretation. The hour-long performance is almost entirely mute, except for the occasional brusque Russian imprecation, but there are cryptic references to “Judith from Catford” and “Susan from West Ham”. Lasers zip across a stage littered with detritus, reflecting off spoons and illuminating a fish tank in which a Big Ears puppet is ritually drowned. A man in a chair raises his leg by means of chains and pulleys and briefly sets himself on fire. Another, with rubber bands wrapped tightly around his face, is pummelled by a plastic boxing kangaroo. A book is laid on a bed of nails, flogged with a scourge and dismembered with a saw.
Maxim Isaev and Pavel Semchenko, the piece's authors and performers, enjoy a certain notoriety in their native St Petersburg as the orchestrators of absurdist “happenings” staged in public spaces and apartment stairwells. That their work leaves spectators flummoxed is part of the point, as is its physical integrity. “If the fire is burning, then it's hot and painful”, Semchenko told one interviewer. “We don't want to rely on tricks”.
Duration — 1 hour.
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