The Arts

A Fool’s Life

A Fool’s Life featured image

Reviewed by Paula Citron
October 3, 2011

A Fool’s Life
Ahuri Theatre/WhyNot Theatre
Conceived and directed by Dan Watson
Featuring Claire Calnan, Julian DeZotti, Haruna Kondo, Derek Kwan and Richard Lee
Live percussion score by Gaishi Ishizaka
Theatre Centre
Sept. 30 to Oct. 8, 2011

Ahuri Theatre’s production of A Fool’s Life is magical.

The physical theatre company creates its own original productions, and A Fool’s Life was inspired by the life and works of Akutagawa Ryunosuke (1892-1927), the father of the Japanese short story. At 35, he committed suicide after a long battle with schizophrenia. His writings are marked by grotesquerie, wild supernatural fancies, and satire noir.

The structure for A Fool’s Life is very clever. The talented cast enacts three Akutagawa stories, each successively more disturbing. The stories are interpolated by scenes with actor Julian DeZotti as Akutagawa describing the writer’s fascination with the kappa, a bizarre mythical creature from Japanese folklore. Collectively, the structure mirrors Akutagawa’s real life descent into madness.

The production values are wonderful, as is the live score performed by Japanese percussionist Gaishi Ishizaka.

A Fool’s Life is one of those original productions that satisfies on every level – intellectually, emotionally and visually.

A Fool’s Life continues at the Theatre Centre until Oct. 8.

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