Courtney Rose Brown
Panuelo (played by Becroft) uses repetition of movement to quickly and effectively establish her home within the sand square. With each chore, Panuelo paints a room in the house and her controlling mother (Bruce) strikes an intimidating presence with a flick of her fan and a puff of her cigarette.
Once Panelo leaves home, the boundaries of the house are removed and sand covers the whole stage. The manipulation of the sand constructs a desert, industrial areas and at times an ocean. Sand is often used to punctuate moments of violence, hanging in the air moments after the action has ended.
The imagery of the ocean is supported by Rachel Marlow’s enchanting lighting design. This is a reminder of what the characters don’t have; as Panuelo’s desire for water grows stronger as does the surreal, mirage-like imagery. Marlow’s design, in particular her use of side lighting, supports the stylised movement that indicates journeys and passing time.
Charlie Baptist’s costume design continues the theme of simplicity with Becroft dressed in a white dress and Bruce and Eason in grey. This provides a blank canvas for Bruce and Eason to layer on extra costume pieces and distinct characteristics to adeptly portray multiple characters.
With Panuelo’s arrival at a circus, Becroft strikes a moment of rawness, sincerity and honesty that is heart breaking. Eason’s performance of the eccentric and flamboyant ringmaster adds a beautiful contrast. Eason has a comedic spark, that brings a necessary lightness to the piece. He is captivating and his performance also pulls at the heartstrings. This is most poignant when both actors engage in a dance representing the struggle between one’s desire for freedom and imprisonment being the only thing that one knows.
The duo performance of the mother and father (Eason and Bruce) is jaw dropping. Despite interacting from a distance they appear to physically have control over each other and the effect is a thick layer of tension which is released as the truth is revealed.
Red Leap Theatre presents a production that is a spectacular and well-crafted piece of storytelling. Dust Pilgrim captivates, stuns and enlightens its audience; it is definitely worth seeing. It is on at Te Whaea until Saturday the 9th of July at 7pm. To find out more information or to book, click here: http://redleaptheatre.co.nz