The Gorilla Review by RemoteGoat
"A lecture on being human"by Roberto Landi for remotegoat on 06/11/09
A well-educated gorilla enters the theatre: he makes his way to the stage without forgetting to greet the audience one by one, shaking hands and dispensing warm smiles; he takes the stage and starts recounting the incredible story of his life under the attentive - and probably slightly disappointed - gaze of Charles Darwin.
"The Gorilla" by Alejandro Jodorowsky (a Chilean scholar in comparative religion, playwright, director, producer, composer, actor, mime, comic book writer, tarot reader, historian and psychotherapist) is a monologue, a lecture on 'being human' given by the eponymous Gorilla - played by the chameleon-like, energetic Brontis, the author's son and pupil - and inspired by Kafka's "Report to an Academy".
This is the story of a gorilla who is awarded a prize by the academic community for his achievements as a human being and is asked to narrate the story of his life at the ceremony, taking the audience on a journey from the Golden Coast to Broadway; from the moment in which, as a wild animal living in the jungle he gets captured and shipped to the States, to his life as a bored and wealthy upper class gentleman.
During his captivity, the gorilla understands that humanity is the only way to freedom and decides to try and skip thousands of years of evolution to undertake a human life. The whole play then becomes a reflection on the human condition, treading a very fine line between human and animal. Differences and similarities are highlighted and the gorilla becomes just another mirror of our condition and of how social conventions and 'savage' education have transformed innocent, pure creatures into brutal, power-obsessed and sex-fixated beings.
Brontis depicts the struggle and sufferance of the gorilla with incredible depth and detail, creating a touching, often funny and intelligent character. His physicality perfectly renders the gorilla's inner and outer worlds, and the story comes to life when we see that same body changing before our eyes and interpreting all the characters met by the protagonist along his path.
Fast-paced and technically perfect, music and lighting highlight the subtleties of a very fine script and contribute to conveying meaning and emotions to the audience. A very important production with a lot to teach; a thoughtful and challenging play; a unique happening that leads us to the sudden realisation that if there is a way out, it is only into the lost Eden still living into our past or beyond matter and time, towards the chaste essence of things.