One of this year’s Three Palaces Online Festival surprises, a wonderfully mesmerizing interpretation of Dante’s circles of Hell.
As soon as I realised that No Gravity Theatre was on this year’s The Three Palaces Online Festival bill, I have been looking forward to finally view one of Emiliano Pellisari’s productions – commissioned, no less, for our beloved festival.
Self-styled as a performing arts company that crosses the boundaries between the arts, the hype surrounding No Gravity Theatre is impossible to miss. And from what I had seen and read online so far, it was probably justified.
But of course, I wanted to see this for myself, which is why November 12, 8.30PM, the evening of the premiere, found me eagerly ready to start streaming. Pellisari himself, who is the founder of the company, states that his works are inspired by the Renaissance and Baroque Theatre of Marvel, which undeniably perfectly match the themes of this year’s The Three Palaces Festival.
Looking at No Gravity Theatre’s previous productions – which focus on equally intriguing personages, like Leonardo da Vinci and Italian film director Federico Fellini – I could already see that the company blends contemporary dance with acrobatics and illusion to create a semi-dreamlike, semi-nightmarish narrative. My expectations for Inferno were sky-high, to put it mildly.
Spoiler-alert – I wasn’t disappointed. For the entirety of almost an hour, No Gravity’s Inferno had me mesmerized, a willing participant in the fever dream landscape created by dancers, director, cinematography and sound. In this landscape there are no physical constraints, as the audience witnesses bodies effortlessly moving across different planes, seemingly floating, flying.
Under Pelissari’s direction, it only takes six dancers to convince us that gravity is no longer a thing. The superb editing also plays a big role, of course, the end result being that we literally watch Pelissari’s unrivalled imagination come to life in front of us, a painting made real.
Hell, as viewed from Pelissari’s almost-Lynchian perspective, is an orgiastic symmetry of bodies, moving in perfect synchronicity, walking a tightrope (sometimes literally) of danger. Through their movements, the dancers create an alternate reality with symbolism aplenty, at one point even forming a staircase (to heaven?) before crumpling into a gorgeously orchestrated heap.
With impeccable precision, the audience is led through the symbiotic dance, until finally the music and movements turn gentle and we sigh, our eyes hypnotised by the last body, the last foot, that flows gently off-screen, right into the abyss.
No Gravity’s Inferno is a triumph of art of physics, of imagination over reality, of fluidity over genre. A definite feather in the Three Palaces Fesitival’s cap, and a most fitting conclusion to the festival.
The Three Palaces Online Festival is organised by Festivals Malta. You can also check out reviews of the other productions in this year’s programming: Oskur, The Kiss, Portal Shades, Nel Mezzo del Cammin and Of Hell and Exile.