Artaud’s Jet of Blood echoes with elements of the Medieval Morality Play, which are bent and twisted with the author’s brand of theatre of cruelty. The Young Man in Jet of Blood embarks on a journey, in this case a surreal journey through his dreams and along the way meets the Young Girl, the Priest, the Nurse, etc.
Ignite Productions successfully accosts the audience in classic theatre of cruelty style, hauling them from the everyday into a grotesque world of the Young Man’s subconscious. The anarchic use of theatrical devices and visual illusions pummels the senses - a useful and fitting effect that could have been pushed from a steady rain to a deluge, perhaps commanding greater attention.
Having said this, there are commanding moments with strong metaphoric images that don’t necessarily rely on theatrical gadgetry but grab attention with simple, powerful actions: the Nurse goes to feed an infant and produces a full breast that disintegrates into a shower of grain all over the floor; the macabre moment of The Young Girl skipping with The Soldier’s intestines, The Priest at one end turning the “rope” while The Soldier remains lifeless in a wheel barrow; and a well observed moment, is the ensemble constructing The Young Man as a child and celebrating his first birthday, then just leaving him to continue on his way as best he can.
The production is a montage of fragmentary moments, totally appropriate for a Surrealist dreamscape. The power of this style of work lies in the separate fragments building to a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, which is missing from this production. As Artaud is quoted in the program, “I surrender to the fever of dreams, but only in order to derive from them new laws.” The fever is running hot but I wonder where the “new laws” are in the work.
Jet of Blood
by Antonin Artaud
Venue: Space Theatre | Adelaide Festival Centre
Preview: 6 Mar, 8.45pm - all tickets $19
Season: 6 March 2007 - 11 March 2007
Times: 7 - 10 Mar @ 8.45pm & 11 Mar @ 7.00pm
Tickets: Adult $25, Conc $19
Duration: 60 mins - no interval
Bookings: BASS 131 246 or www.bass.net.au