Emo on Fire

To read Maurice Maeterlinck’s Pelléas and Mélisande is to encounter a world of unexplained melancholia, gloomy forests and castles, and sweet, unconsummated love. In short, it’s pretty emo. But through the eyes of the consistently sensitive and imaginative folks at Cutting Ball Theater, the underappreciated playwright gets a gorgeous and compelling staging — not least because director Rob Melrose uses his own translation of the play. To bring it into resonant sensory life, Melrose relies on the abstract sound design of Cliff Caruthers, the evocative choreography of Laura Arrington, and the video projections of Wesley Cabral. Cabral uses 13 veils hanging from the ceiling to transport us into Maeterlinck’s soulful world. Joshua Schell and Caitlyn Louchard, two of the Bay Area’s most exciting young performers, make the title characters’ love affair at once innocent and fervent. Paul Gerrior’s return to this stage, as a dying patriarch, has been too long in coming since his star turn in the theater’s production of Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape. Maeterlinck himself could hardly ask for a better dream team.
Thursdays-Sundays, 8 p.m. Starts: Oct. 21. Continues through Nov. 27, 2011

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