Adapted from Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai this sprawling tale gets turned afresh in the accomplished imagination of writer, director, and performer David Gaine.
In this torqued, and at this point welcome, blackbox offering (the backdrop to the stage is white) we get stark lighting that focuses on one man as tumbles his way through playing every character in a well worn and much loved plot: a village is threatened by bandits, and an unlikely hero- in this instance a young, poor samurai- jumps to the defense, saving the people and village. But as the program boasts “liberties are taken, but the result is more animated and funnier.”
And so it is. Gaine transcends mime, as he not just gestures, but controls his rising and setting sun in this world of country peasants, nasty shop-owner, bandits who convey something of evil cowboys, and of course squarely follows the journey of the honorable Samurai. Gaine scores the piece with swishes, growls and squeals, each delving into the action’s essence and signalling character changes. That is to say nothing of the fight to the death finish, eliciting gasps of excitement from the audience, me included. Any solo performer who without special effects can stage one man gutting another is aces in my book.
Sitting in the audience, I felt like I was in a master’s hands, and that the bonus was that the master was weened on American cartoons and so had a really great sense of humor. If you can, it’s a performance to wrap yourself up in.
- Running Time: 45 minutes
- Tickets: 7 (x1) Samurai
- Remaining Shows: Sat, July 26 at 1 . Sun, July 27 at 7
- Where: The Shop at Fort Fringe, 610 L Street, NW