Monday, February 25, 2013

Reviewed in Brief: Red Resurrected

"Whether she leaves or stays in the wild unknown, there's a place for her."

So closes Red Resurrected, an imaginative new play at Illusion Theater from Transatlantic Love Affair.

As happens with so many locally created shows, Red Resurrected began as a popular offering at the Fringe Festival. Weaving in plot snippets from familiar folk and fairy tale narratives such as Little Red Riding Hood or Hansel and Gretel, it tells the story of a girl compelled to live life outside of the boundaries of her small wooded town. 

Red is marked as a special girl from the beginning, and after she leaves her town to exist in the woods alone she is forever marked apart. For the sake of suspense I'll refrain from divulging exactly why she leaves the safety of the hamlet and what she encounters in said forest, but let's just say that it's a welcome re-imagining of the "witch." In ways, it's also eerily reminiscent of the narrow line women must still tread to avoid criticism and ostracization in contemporary society.

The choreography was literal and poetic, and it (as well as the set) consists entirely of the actors themselves, always clearly communicated what it was intended to symbolize. Highlights include representations of houses and fire. 

The most notable facet of Red Resurrected is the way Transatlantic Love Affairs manipulates their sound effects. Every noise heard throughout the play is produced by the players themselves, and many of them are lushly spontaneous, perfectly attuned to the show's settings. Forest noises are beautiful and at times more appealing than the standard stock sound effects heard in many productions. Music followed suit, with a heavy emphasis on a 'Sacred Harp Singers at Liberty Church' style of a capella vocals.

While Red Resurrected is by no means a masterpiece, it is a great example of how having a little imagination can entirely change the way a play is put together and how an audience receives it. Running at a clippy pace of under 90 minutes, it's a nice way to wait out the remaining snow. The production closes on March 2, so hurry to get your tickets at Illusion Theater while you can.