The only reason I didn’t give Basil Twist’s hypnotic Dogugaeshi a standing ovation was that I was simply too stunned to rise from my seat.
Certainly I was prepared to be enchanted, after my last experience of the Basil Twist Festival – Petrushka at Shakespeare Theatre Company – but this was even more intense. Over the course of one hour I’d been transported, body and mind, to a theatrical state I had never experienced before.
There’s a haunting beauty to Dogugaeshi. As it’s a very brief run I urge you to catch it this week before closing on April 22. If it were just a presentation of Japanese folk puppet theater, that would still be reason to see it, but Twist takes this classic form and reframes it as a profound elegy on time and the ephemeral nature of beauty.
It’s the dogugaeshi itself, a “set change” stage mechanism, that tricks the eye until the viewer is almost in a trance. Or is it that strange, playful fox blowing out a candle? Continue reading