Translation of HBL’s review of Mrs. Strangled and Mr. Shot by Linnea Stara

Dancing puppets in silicone

Is it possible that the old-fashioned shadow theatre is fresh and new again? With video projected pictures and R-rated (= not for children) plots Auksė Petrulienė has, like Tim Etchells earlier this week, found new ways of interpretation for a dramatic audiovisual art form.

Technique, which used to be hidden away with a white canvas, is shown right in front of our eyes. It’s not only the fictive characters that captivate us, but also the artists, whose technical delicacy gives the dramatic element another suprastructure. On the left side there’s Auksė Petrulienė, in front of a table with a video player and the silicone puppets in a row on plastic screens. On right, Tomas Dobrovolskis one-man’s orchestra. In front of us is the screen, where Petrulienė’s silicone puppets soon shall dance, copulate and murder.

Mrs. Strangled and Mr. Shot is a passion drama based on real-life events in the 1930’s Lithuania. A young woman meets a man on the beach. When the summer’s over she’s found dead. Her lover, a demon in a form of an owl, is caught. Soon after being set free he gets shot. The silicone puppets with their long tongues, nipples and penises are grotesque. Demons and angels are projected in front of authentic photographs and newspaper clippings. It’s obvious that something (will) happen “When a woman puts passion in motion …” But what Auksė Petrulienė tries to say about passion and violence I don’t get/understand.

There is however a feeling of immediacy/spontaneity and gripping archaic aesthetics in the Psilicone Theatre’s play. The play’s strong/forceful images get a frantic tempo, and you can’t help but get sucked into the tunes of Tomas Dobrovolskis, like into the last dance of summer.

Linnea Stara.