Resembling life-sized puppets, a dynamic trio of gorgeously masked performers gracefully depict a host of humane characters in the wordless, engrossing and poignant 80-minute theater piece, André & Dorine.
This charming show comes from the acclaimed Spanish troupe, Kulunka Teatro. The ensemble of Jose Dault, Garbiñe Insausti and Edu Cárcamo all offer awesome physically commanding silent portrayals of a variety of types while encased in Ms. Insausti’s stupendously created caricaturist masks. Their handling of props is majestic. During the exhilarating curtain call, the cast appears without masks, and their magnetism is even more visible. André & Dorine’s engaging wry scenario was devised by Insausti, Mr. Dault, Iñaki Rikarte, Mr. Cárcamo and Rolando San Martín.
The production opens with the aged André clacking away at a typewriter in his study. We discern that he’s a successful novelist and meet his long-time wife, Dorine who once had a career as a cellist. Their stuffy single adult son coming to visit, trips to the doctor, a deliveryman dropping off a package, witty flashbacks of the couple’s tempestuous courtship and marriage, their child’s birth and a flamboyant nurse aiding in the inevitable last stages of existence beset by Alzheimer’s are among the life events depicted through short, pointed scenes. It’s all a funny, moving and relatable saga enacted through glorious theatricality.
Director Iñaki Rikarte’s energetic staging wonderfully emphasizes the piece’s comedic and tragic tones while clearly imparting the shifting time periods. These varying states are highlighted by composer Yayo Cáceres’ jaunty flamenco and 1960’s-style pop-themed score. Laura Gómez’s simple yet striking scenic design cleverly and swiftly represents locations other than André and Dorine’s well-appointed residence. Lighting designer Carlos Samaniego “Sama”’s bold work perfectly complements the humor, pathos and temporality on display. Ikerne Giménez’s ravishing costume design individualizes each character through rich details and accessories.
Kulunka Teatro was founded in 2010, in the Basque region of Spain. Its mission “is to experiment with a wide variety of stage languages in order to produce theatre that is vibrant, contemporary, committed and strongly connected to reality.” André & Dorine was its first production, which has toured internationally, garnering awards.
Like an animated film, André & Dorine vividly presents compelling characters in realistic situations through grand stylization.
André & Dorine (through May 29, 2022)
Theatre at St. Clement’s , 423 West 46th Street, in Manhattan
For tickets, visit http://www.andreanddorinetour.com
Running time: 80 minutes without an intermission