Review: “Talent, point of view make magic happen”
“THE MASK MESSENGERS” is a two-person demonstration of how magic happens so easily in the theatre.
Easily, that is, if you have talent and a point of view, and Robert Faust and Timothy Latta have both, in spades.
Mr.Faust, who has worked with Pilobolus Dance Theatre, Crowsnest and Martha Clarke (among others), is a dancer, choreographer and sculptor who likes doing character studies of both humans and animals. He works in wood, leather, celastic, fiberglass and bronze, and he particularly likes creating masks. He is tall and trim and has thinning hair.
Mr. Latta is an actor and dancer who has performed with Pilobolus, MOMIX, the Royal Liechtenstein Circus and other organizations. He is short, trim and has bushy hair.
On the simplest level, their show (part of Piccolo Spoleto’s Theatre Fringe) is a demonstration of masks. It begins as a rather stuffy lecture, but it soon swerves toward both the manic and the eerie, and I was astonished by the effect the placing of a simple mask over an actor’s face can have on an audience. A laughing crowd suddenly falls silent in a kind of shock at the sudden apparent dissappearance of a man’s personality. Another mask replaces it. Mr.Latta or Mr.Faust merely tilts his torso to another angle or curves his hand in a different way, and the audience gasps and feels: threatened, startled, amused, shocked, worried, sad, afraid, whatever. Some of the things they do take shocking liberties with their audience (I won’t explain, for that would telegraph their punch and spoil your fun), but the crowd is helpless in their hands.
It’s a remarkable performance. If you’re an actor, dancer, designer or director, you should make your way to Queen Street as soon as possible. If you just want to see a fine piece of theatre, join the crowd. But buy your tickets ahead of time: there was a big line of last-minute customers Monday night and I almost didn’t get in at all. News travels fast in these parts.