By Karen Krolak
Last night I was invited to Aurelia's Oratorio at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA. It was an exquisite hour and a half indulgence for the imagination that employed optical illusions, mime, ballroom dance, Vaudeville, puppetry, circus arts, and tap. If you are in the Boston area, this holiday season, I highly recommend snagging some tickets to it.
Victoria Thierrée Chaplin, daughter of silent film star, Charlie Chaplin, created and directed this mostly unspoken theatrical. At times the heavy velvet curtains and peculiar characters evoked the whimsical eccentricities of Edward Gorey's books and staged entertainments at the Cotuit Center for the Arts.
The choreography is witty, whimsical, and well paced. Even though some of the choreographic ideas have been used before (One segment was almost identical to one of my favorite pieces by the now defunct Snappy Dance Theater.), performers Aurélia Thierrée and Jaime Martinez lure you into their twisting transformations and madcap adventures with incredible skill. Their seemingly effortless aerial acrobatics on hangers, swinging silks, and over sized cloaks made me long for my summer of circus training with Sylivia Hernandez-DiStasi at the Actor's Gymnasium in Chicago.