Motus’s Panorama begins with a video of an individual trying to answer the daunting question – “Who are you?” The same person arrives on stage and continues her line of thinking live. Her body and her mediated image are both present as she attempts to describe who she is. A second person enters and does the same, a third, a forth, and so on. The game-like ritual unfolds and quickly the audience begins to understand some of the rules. The performer is to enter, sit in a chair centerstage and repeat what they said at the audition. As this continues, the game bends and flexes. The performers start to share each other’s stories. There are people in the room whose assumed identities don’t match the words coming out of their mouths. There are recordings of people who never arrive in the room. The rule-breaking is joyful, celebratory. Over the next 90 minutes, Panorama playfully and rigorously blurs the possibilities of who we are.
Panorama was created by Italy’s Motus Theatre Company in partnership with La MaMa Enrico Casagrande and Daniela Nicolò directed and devised the production in collaboration with Great Jones Repertory Company. Developed from interviews, improvisation and research Panorama probes into pivotal memories of the people on stage. On one side of the world, a father walks out on his family and demands that his son, backpack in hand, go back to his mother. On the other side of the world in a different time, a father supports his daughter as she changes the film industry in a Muslim country. Patterns and inconsistencies emerge as the stories collide. Animation, dance, music, and cheetos bring to life an infinitely imaginative world dominated by curiosity instead of borders. Panorama culminates in a dizzying and dazzling palimpsest of cross-body experiences leaving the audience gleefully unsure of where they begin or end.
Photo: Theo Cote