Out The Box opens up, and theatre review of Tranquila

By Astrid Stark

A duel with death and other peculiar tales.

And so on 22 March the 5th annual weird and wacky Out The Box festival opened with snippets from two local works that will be presented at the festival, and an oddly transcendental performance, Tranquila, from Israel. CEO of UNIMA SA and award-winning creator of puppets and things, Janni Younge, said on the night that by December last year they still did not have proper funding and the festival’s future was uncertain. However, says Janni Younge, the quality and amount of applications demanded a platform, and this year there are more offerings than ever.

Ronnie Kalev in Tranquila

Ronnie Kalev in Tranquila

 Tranquila was shown as a sample of what theatre goers may expect of Out the Box. What a wacked-out performance par excellence this is! It tells the story of a woman with DVT – deep vein thrombosis; not a movie disk as the Israeli performers pronounce it. She is stuck in a strange land and cannot speak the language.  

Sick and delusional from fever she swings wildly between life and death. Or something.  It was very strange. The actors babble away in Spanish and it’s this language barrier that frees up the performance for personal interpretation.  The doctors that are trying to save her life wear baby pink mini dresses and white stockings and are just hysterical. At some point the woman’s legs turn into tree trunks with leaves growing out of them which the concerned nurse water regularly. There is a dual between death and a very sexy but clown-like Romeo slash Don Quixote character. 

The music is haunting and enchanting.  At one point  the woman appears to be losing her battle with death and she transcends from her bed by rope and stare down at herself being worked over by the doctors; beautiful metaphor for an out of body experience.  Tossed in as a delicious distraction is a paediatrician with a puppet obsession, circus acts, lectures on the workings of the brain and a pythonesque philosophical ranting about the meaning of life.  It’s a completely mesmerising, expertly performed, fresh and sexy piece of theatre.  Oh, and it is a true story.

Tranquila stars Yaron Goshen, Nimrod Eisenberg, Ronny Kalev, Boaz Shal and Avital Dvory.

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