Entertainment, The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: King Arthur

Ben Cunis as King Arthur, Vato Tsikurishvili as Lancelot, and Ensemble in Synetic Theater's "King Arthur." Photo credit: Graeme B. Shaw

I’m fast running out of superlatives to describe Synetic Theater productions. They operate in a riveting crossfire where power meets grace, muscle meets sinew. And this time, for King Arthur, they do it all in ankle-deep water.

That’s right, the brutally complex swordplay, the exquisite dancing, the emotional physicality – all take place on a stage filled with water. Sometimes it even rains.


Synetic is often described as presenting “physical theater” – to denote its wordless style. But I like to think of it more as “psychological theater.” Director Paata Tsikurishvili and choreographer Irina Tsikurishvili tease out character’s deep motivations into the physical realm, like taking micro-expressions and elongating them. As their brilliant foray into the shattered psyche of a triple-headed Iago in Othello showed, they are masters of the psychological nuance. One might not immediately think the King Arthur legend lends itself to that approach (isn’t it just a love triangle? you might initially think) but they mine the depths of betrayal to make what could be cardboard characters truly live.

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