Transcript of A critic's review (article 4)

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A Critic's Review 4

My dear readers it is with further sorrow that I must now review the travesty performed on the stage this last week. The 'Whispering King' is a unique piece of performance artwork that I had been desperately looking forward to since its flyers appeared around the city. A play written and directed by none other than the Prefectus[sic] Praetorio himself. I had such high hopes for this piece, and it is with tremendous sadness that I must now write this review.

The play is quite unique in that each of the actors is disguised by a wooden mask obscuring their features. The masks are grotesque in their imagery, each of them a mockery of whatever creature they are attempting to imitate. The human faces are twisted and gaunt, trapped in the rictus grins of the damned. The vampyre faces are little more than oversized jaws with large fangs and the demons, well, you can just imagine how they might look. Beneath the masks are a collection of unwashed and poorly dressed street rats. It gives the impression of some dreadful outreach program using the arts to inspire the unwanted to strive for citizenship.

These wooden-faced actors are at least more animated than the previous occupants of the stage, yet they move with a strange jerkiness of movement that underlines their lack of professional training. They speak with a strange tone to them, as if they are ventriloquist puppets having some sort of deranged get-together. The entire performance feels more like a puppet show than a proper play.

But the strangest of all is the writing. I am used to plays that offer hidden meanings, or play on the emotional states of the viewer. The works of Garenius, which asks the viewer what it really means to be a citizen of the Empire. The wonderful sonnets of Theanopha who urges us to look inside ourselves and understand the secret shames we all keep hidden. These plays prey on our own preconceptions and turn our own thoughts into a marvellous piece of the performance. But this play does none of that. It talks of glacial planes and secret doors buried deep beneath the ice. Of wandering philosophers who walk the world in silence, contemplating what it means to be truly forgotten. It makes jokes about being hollowed out and fed to ancient jaws that would grind us to dust and make us glad for it. At no point did it make any sense.

Then, it ends in a gory display of death and dismemberment. The actors turned their blades upon each other and - in swift movements - impaled one another with their weapons. Their deaths were the only believable pieces of acting in the entire play.

All in all, a tremendous disappointment and one that I would strongly recommend avoiding.

2 stars.