WATCHING, Ceci n’est pas de deux: Strangely Moving

Ester Natzijl in WATCHING, Ceci n'est pas de deux.

Ester Natzijl in WATCHING, Ceci n’est pas de deux.

WATCHING, Ceci n’est pas de deux is a solo-duet with a life-size foam puppet created and performed by dancer and puppeteer, Ester Natzijl.

It’s rather surreal and confounding… It’s odd and stirring. It’s mesmerising and discomforting all at once.

And the truth is I’m still unsure whether I liked it or not. Although, let’s be clear, subjectively enjoying a work has nothing to do with its merit. There’s a lot to merit in WATCHING.

Natzijl has wonderful presence and works flawlessly with her puppet to present two beings on stage. The work is atmospheric in how Natzijl creates an alternate world, and the understated lighting design and eerie music contribute perfectly to drawing us into this other place.

Of course there’s the ‘narrative’ (for lack of a better word here) about their relationship. There’s give and take but it’s clearly unhealthy. My companions and I rather enjoyed the openly sexualised tone and action. One doesn’t often see it in puppetry work.

But in WATCHING I saw more. I saw a depiction of addiction. There’s temptation, a first taste, guilt, cravings, more guilt, dangerous behaviour, and the inevitable descent into spinning out of control. And all the while, through the struggles to resist, it’s there – a demon on your shoulder threatening to take over your life.

Maybe that’s all a bit deep but work like this gets one thinking. It’s a neat piece of conceptual theatre, simply realised, interesting and  challenging.

– Sarah Roberson

WATCHING, Ceci n’est pas de deux is next on tomorrow 04 July at 16.00 at The Hangar. For more info & bookings, click here.

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