Theatre reviews: Call Cutta in a Box and 2 Dimensional Life of Her

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Call Cutta in a Box. Photo / Supplied
Call Cutta in a Box. Photo / Supplied

Are you nervous?" asks Mitasha "Mitu" Bhattacharya. Well yes, Mitu, thanks for asking; you're a stranger in a Calcutta call centre, hired to phone me on a crackly line as a theatrical performance.

The geo-politics is loaded. I'm alone in an anonymous office, and I'm not sure what's expected of me. But I needn't have worried; I'm looked after like a child or psychotherapy client. Told to sit back and "open my shoes", I can just follow instructions - asking questions if I want to - and all will be well.

The script is cleverly crafted. "We've reached scene two," says Mitu. "I hope you're not suffering from any diseases? ... Do you believe in reincarnation?"

Cross-cultural and class assumptions are gently probed as Mitu talks about why she has reason to pity New Zealanders their housework.

The piece questions global atomisation: Mitu is nice and happy. But isn't that because she's paid to be?

Even before you consider the exciting "reality theatre" aspect of using real people and places (rather than representations), German producers Rimini Protokoll have developed a satisfying, innovative one-on-one format that amuses in itself.

The reverse spotlight is designed to be enjoyable, and Mitu's apparent omnipotence delights (she makes a jug boil, and music play), as do the surprises hidden about the room.

Call Cutta is a real, fresh theatrical event. Highly recommended.

Impressive technical complexity is also on display in the 40 minutes of Fleur Elise Noble's 2 Dimensional Life of Her.

This is a portrait of the artist as a cleaning lady, set in a black-and-white dreamworld.

On immense digital projections life-size animated drawings are revealed by the sweeping of Noble's broom.

The whimsy could use a tad more humour, but this is a tasty and unusual theatrical morsel.

REVIEW

New Performance Festival
What: Call Cutta in a Box
When: Until February 25
Where: Aotea Centre, The Edge
What: 2 Dimensional Life of Her
When: Until tomorrow
Where: Aotea Centre, The Edge

- NZ Herald

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