The Fiddler Ghost is a perfect example of what the Fringe Festival is all about– a chance to showcase unusually creative theatrical expressions that don’t fit the traditional boxes, that pack a punch, and are short and sweet. The Fiddler Ghost does that and more, in 45 minutes. It has it all – music, dance, movement, drama, artistic expression, all steeped in such ancient storytelling, its called lore.
The basic story of a man’s journey into parts unknown is presented with minimal fanfare and is shrouded in mystery. The opening song in familiar Celtic rhythm and verse establishes the major players and the quest. The cast consists of six dancers, 3 men -two also play the guitar– and 3 women, along with Jenny Cieplak, master violinist. All of the dancers have solid Integrity of the movement, using mime to portray actions such as scything the wheat for harvest to marching with uniform intensity. With minimal dialog and wonderful command of movement, even Pilobolus-like, they take shape-shifting to new and exciting levels making architectural forms with their bodies- they glide, they sway, they crouch, all with perfect precision while maintaining character.
John Milosich as Iolo is magnificent in an unassuming way. Without grandstanding at all, he commands attention through his every move and decision. With a natural curiosity, Iolo throws caution to the wind as he yearns to find the mysterious cave that he and a friend stumbled across in an earlier time. Was it an hallucinatory dream? Were the funny and beautiful creatures for real? We are drawn into his yearning for affirmation, celebrate his discovery, then watch helplessly as his beloved fantasy spirals into painful despair. It’s a fascinating journey.
In this world premiere and inaugural production of Old Lore Theater, there’s a reason for the hints of Synetics-type skill and seamless blend of exquisite movement and extraordinary storytelling. Several of the male dancers, including Nicholas Allen the co-artistic director, had early training and performed in that breathtaking troupe. Judging from the extended ovation at the performance, the metro area will have more incredible theater to love, support, and celebrate.
- Running Time: 45 minutes
- Tickets: The Fiddler Ghost
- Remaining Shows: Fri, July 18 at 6 . Sat July 19 at 2 . Sunday July 27 at 7
- Where: Shakespeare Theater, Harman Center, 610 F Street NW