FLARE17: Actresses Always Lie

FLARE17: Actresses Always Lie by El Pollo Campero, Comidas Para Llevar (Spain)

I love performances that appear to be light hearted but mask very serious issues underneath, where you come away with the nagging feeling that there was a lot more to the production than you first saw.  Gloria March Chulvi (Sleepwalk Collective’s Domestica) and Cris Celada have created a show that highlights the paradoxes in the way we treat actresses.  But is it Gloria and Cris as actresses or is it actresses in general?  Are they lying?  Are they pretending to lie?  The themes are beautifully highlighted by the most wonderful technique; voiceovers in Spanish of English films where the spoken words and subtitles do not match the original dialogue of the film and instead highlight the challenges for actresses.

Cris ‘disappears’ during the performance.  Initially, in the rehearsal room, she is centre stage, demonstrating her impressive voiceover skills, being her natural and talented self.  Then, as we progress, she becomes different people, until finally she virtually ceases to exist as a person behind an anonymous costume.  Gloria discusses the way she has lied in her career, but perhaps she’s lying then too.  There are some lovely time shifts in a combat routine to open up tiny timing gaps just like we see in films that have been voiced over badly.  A reconstruction of an audition highlights how casting people treat actresses as a commodity, demanding that they ‘lie’ on command.  A very funny cheap stag-do cabaret artist is both very funny and desperately sad.  Even the asides which initially you buy into become potential lies.

On the face of it, this is a lovely show about actresses, friendship and performance, but beneath it all there are some powerful and serious messages that leave you thinking about the issues for days afterwards.  Great theatre.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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