Inside the Wild Heart is not your typical night at the theater. As you step inside the Immersive Gallery (132 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY) you begin to explore the inner world of Brazil’s most renowned author Clarice Lispector. Group. BR’s limited Off-Broadway run through November 20 happens in a house setting where the audience can freely walk from room to room following the performers and interacting with the environment. Each room is an art installation inspired by a strong element in Clarice’s writing. This is most definitely for fans of Then She Fell, Queen of the Night and Sleep No More.
Famous for her stream of consciousness writing (ala Jack Kerouac in “On The Road”), Lispector focused on the moment- the existential, endless moment. The nine pieces selected by passionate Director Regina Miranda perused that which IS… in love, in nature, in the question of life. Running at just under two hours (but really only needing an hour and a half), this exploration conceived by Andressa Furletti and Debora Balardini, (who also perform), is presented in dance, video, music, English and Portuegese by Group.BR, the only Brazilian theatre company in New York.
This Avant guard show is fully immersive theatre, with six actors bringing nine vignettes of Lispector’s work to life in an artist’s loft- a haunting place of found objects. Much like exploring a decompression party at Burning Man, this show allows the audience to not only participate but also peruse and choose their muse. The loft is Lispector’s brain- every character a tortured piece of her soul rattling around like the endless critical committee in your head: the dancers, the lovers, the questioner, the voices endlessly screaming out.
The show invites its guests into the hazy curtains of Lispector’s mind through a room of mirrors and fog, with a make up mirror staged center and dripping with pearls. A woman in a frowsy white man’s shirt and undies starts speaking in Portuguese and leads you into the eleven flowing spaces to wander through. A tree of life stands in one corner with messages left to hang from yarn as movies play on a screen nearby. A basement musty with memories beckons, while in another space a mass of old fashioned phones speaking memories in Portuguese and English dares you to listen. An eerily lit, claw-foot tub filled brilliantly with shredded paper invites, as does a sunken room of pillows with overhead projections. The upstairs touts layers of white sheers, subtly lit and overlooking a metal framework that actors cling to and emotionally swing from. Staged center in a red spotlight is an imposingly large, velvet and rosette covered bed (which few dared to sit on) while Lispector’s words scroll on huge screens around the room. A giant canvas covers a wall and floor in yet another area where actors roll and cavort in the blood red paint, which is offered up to anyone wishing to leave their mark.
Original music by Sergio Krakowski and Mario Forte guide this world through an electric violin and meditative bells that stimulate the pieces to flow and overlap.
The stand out of the night was the burlesque-esque dancer Carolina de Oliveira in a semi-sheer bodysuit and men’s black trench coat that tantalized the audience with passionate modern dance and a touchless tango with Ricardo Burgos. Gonçalo Ruivo was able to speak in English- assaulting the crowd with existential questions put forth by the author.
My biggest concern of the night was an ancient rifle hanging from the wall that inevitably had an audience member taking it down and literally pointing it at several people. Serving wine to guests- would have enhanced the experience.
Inside the Wild Heart,Actors: Immersive Gallery,132 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, until Nov. 20th