Reviewed by Matt Ritchey
Butoh is not a style of theatre rampant in Los Angeles – it’s a Japanese dance theatre requiring intense control and extreme emotion. Back this year at Hollywood Fringe, after last year’s Butoh Medea, is Ren Gyo Soh’s take on Lady Macbeth, Butoh Lady Macbeth performed expertly by Yokko. And it is astounding.
The idea of a one-woman take on Lady Macbeth is interesting enough in itself, but the addition of this specific style, the show reaches the next level. Incorporating a lush, beautiful sound design by Jorge Olivo and the company, Yokko’s performance vacillates between focused movement and real-time storytelling, using a mixture of Shakespearean verse and an English summation of the scene. As the intensity progresses, Lady Macbeth begins to speak in Japanese as well.
In fact, if there was a single thing to bemoan in this performance, it would be the use of English language and the real-time storytelling aspect. Yokko does these beautifully and the sections are included for clarity to help audiences who may be unfamiliar with the material, but the true joy here is seeing an artist working flawlessly in her artform. Were the entire production to be done in Japanese or with no dialogue at all, it not so much be less accessible as more immersive. This is purely an opinion coming from how the dance sequences blew me away and told me a familiar story in an unfamiliar way and how I wanted even more of it.
Hide Your Fires is an amazing piece of art by an amazing artist and I cannot more highly recommend making it part of your Fringe experience.
Very Highly Recommended
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