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La La La Strada

dance & physical theatre · proboscis theatre company · Ages 17+ · United States of America

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June 12, 2015

My overall impression

“La La La Strada” is another show customed fit for the Fringe.
It is an unhappy fact that shows of its nature would have a difficult time realizing commercial production, hindered not by any supposed or actual flaws, but by those elements within the show constituting its strengths and fundamental appeal; elements which would intimidate “producers” of the more timid types.
The Proboscis Theater Company has given their audience something “different”.
“Different” can be exciting.
“Different” can be adventurous.
“Different” can be fascinating.
The Proboscis Theater Company has succeeded in all three.
Taking as its foundation Federico Fellini’s 1954 “La Strada”, considered by some his masterpiece, the ensemble uses dance, music and puppetry to explore the artist and the creative process.
Based on autobiographical materials of the film’s cast and other sources, Jeff Mills, who wrote and directed, has fashioned a narrative that is an elegant joining of stylish theatricality and Magic Realism.
It effectively conveys the agony that is the lot of any artistic effort, while commenting on our unhealthy tendency of tolerating in “artists” what is intolerable in anyone.
For fans of Fellini and film lovers this show is a natural draw.
Yet one can still enjoy this show even if they come into the theatre without the least knowledge of either the Italian filmmaker or the film “La Strada”.
You just need to know that Fellini’s wife, Giulietta Masina plays the naïve Gelsomina and that Anthony Quinn plays the brutal strongman Zampano.
“La La La Strada” merely uses the specifics of this single film in an effort to examine what is consumed by and betrayed by in an artist’s struggle to realize what is essentially unrealizable, the dream, the vision, the illusion of art.
This is a far larger issue than just one Italian film.
And a far more interesting one as well.

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