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  • Chris ORourke

Dublin Fringe Festival 2017: Raven Eyed

Raven Eyed by Loosysmokes. Photo by Eoin Comiskey


Get Your Freak On

It almost feels illegal. Standing in the dark, scouring the silent strangers around you at the tram station, hoping to spy the figure in a yellow t-shirt you know should be there waiting for you. Transpires most of the strangers are there for the same reason you are. Some strike up hushed conversations. You hear the words whispered, like a secret password: “Raven Eyed,” and you exchange surreptitious, knowing nods. Presently, guided by a number of people in yellow t-shirts, you find yourself being escorted along the darkened street, round corners, stopping next to a tall, black gate. Quietly you’re ushered inside, as if entering a secret rave. Yet what you find is far stranger, far more demented, and far more exhilarating than anything you could possibly imagine. Heed Dante’s warning and abandon hope all you who enter here. Welcome to “Raven Eyed,” a dark, delicious circus in which hell is made manifest. ​

A Goth designed paradise of shadow and light, “Raven Eyed” ventures beyond the periphery of vision to find the shadows within shadows, and the things that live, move, and breathe within the shadows. As wings flutter unseen, and a demented Angelus-like clanging on pipes embraces all, a spotlit search for spikes takes place, like nails for a crucifixion, littered amidst the rubble. Soon the queens of darkness emerge, set against the most hauntingly beautiful sound design. A coven of three convening in a place where light momentarily rushes past, looking to escape the dark for fear it will consume it. Black backs arched, their bodies twisted, they commence walking on walls, or floating mid air, upturning rooms or channeling spirits through tortured and twisted gestures, exquisitely conveyed, and ending with a sublime solo with shoes and nails. Presently a dark prince enters and the three queens, snagged on spikes nailed at the table, seem to cast spells, fingers bent backwards, bodies contorted, arching. A brief, solo trapeze routine almost snaps the spell by virtue of its ordinariness, yet, presently, a duet of demented beauty sees two bodies high on a trapeze separate and merge, casting eerie shapes and elongated shadows shuddering along the wall. Marionettes become twisted puppeteers, hairs entwined with rope and chair in a split second waltz of exquisite precision. In the end, you might try escape the darkness, climbing and swinging in search of release, but the darkness will not let go until it is done with you.

In the absence of a programme, it's simply impossible to acknowledge the incredible design team and performers whose light, costumes, soundscapes, movements, and choreography elevate “Raven Eyed” into a truly remarkable and breathtaking experience. A modern, freakish nightmare, “Raven Eyed” marries a Marilyn Manson sensibility with the visual possibilities of modern horror gaming, as well as the physical vocabulary of Chinese horror movies, and smothered them all in the darkest of dark. Yet it always grounds itself firmly in the body performing before you and the crafted space it inhabits.

In “Raven Eyed” beauty, and darkness, are in the eye of the beholder, in what they see, and what they secretly see. As it unfolds, “Raven Eyed” opens a dark, purgatorial space, one you enter in ignorance, no matter what you think you know, and leave transformed. Afraid of the dark? After “Raven Eyed” you will positively fall in love with it. A production that sears through your soul like a withering wind, “Raven Eyed” is, without a shadow of doubt, one of the most haunting and visually stunning experiences of the festival. Freakishly good, “Raven Eyed” is not to be missed. So go get your freak on, if you still can.

“Raven Eyed” by Loosysmokes, runs at an undisclosed location near Meeting Point @The Point Luas Stop as part of Dublin Fringe Festival 2017 until September 23rd

For more information, visit Dublin Fringe Festival 2017 or Loosysmokes

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