Mamoru Iriguchi’s theatre-cum-cinema experience is a conceptually innovative, endearing and visually impressive piece. Greeting us as we arrive, clad only in underwear and dishing out 3D glasses, Iriguchi makes for an amiable, unassuming and slightly absurd figure. This impression is reinforced when he dons an extraordinary piece of kit: a small, head-mounted screen with a hole cut for his face and a projector mounted overhead that effectively makes him a miniature mobile cinema.
Film, he reminds us, is a domineering form but also a deathly form. It is a medium in two senses, both a technology of communication and a way to access the dead. The production follows Marlene Dietrich, a performer who excelled both on screen and in live performance. With a little help from the audience, be it getting him dressed or showering the stage in fake snowflakes, he seeks to relate her life story. Although, something seems amiss…
It is then revealed that the show was filmed, and rather beautifully, it is played in reverse with subtitles and a grayscale filter. The quirky and charming aspects of this captivate the audience, as we attempt to unravel the meaning of effectively reversing time.
However, during the most part of this show, the audience is distracted by a faint classical melody playing from the front row of the audience, which seems completely unconnected to the actual performance. Iriguchi handles this mishap well though, identifying the culprit and ensuring the music is stopped, before continuing with our 4D Cinema experience.
The uncanny and melancholy aspects of cinema come through, and it’s a touching show to behold.