• Amy Toledano

The Journey of a Warlike Mind presented by Ana Luiza Ulsig

What Is It?

The new solo performance from performer Ana Luiza Ulsig. Winner of the 2019 Spirit of the Bedfringe Award, Ulsig brings this unique show to the Vault Festival.

What Is It About?

This non-naturalistic piece follows the journey of Eva as she comes to terms with her inner emotional life, seeking out the truth of her identity and the emotional impacts of the events that have shaped her life. Inspired by the stories of Brazilian president Dilma Rouseff’s breakdown during her 2016 impeachment, the life and works of proto-feminist Mary Wollstencraft, and Clarissa Pinkola Estés book Women Who Run with the Wolves, along with elements of African dance, this is a show that plays with our traditional notions of narrative structure whilst examining current themes of gender and inequality.

How Did It Make Me Feel?

Performing a piece of theatre that breaks the formal narrative structures and conventions is a difficult thing to get right. There is the danger of such works falling into the traps of self-indulgence, thematic obtuseness, and becoming a parody of experimental art. However, for all these risks, it is these works that can be truly revolutionary in how we perceive theatre and indeed how we view the themes that are presented in such pieces. Is THE JOURNEY OF A WARLIKE MIND a revolutionary piece of theatre? Not quite, but it is a joyful and entertaining hour.

Ana Luiza Ulsig is a talented performer, both self aware of her art form and witty in her writing and presentation. She brings a light, playful energy to this at times confusing piece, and it is in the strength of her performance that kept me engaged as an audience member.

The plot is intentionally episodic and non-linear, but at times, there are elements that seem superfluous and out of place with the core themes of the show. The enigmatic figure of Rose does not add to the plot in any significant way, and there are events hinted at which are then never subsequently referenced or resolved. It appears as though there are a lot of themes and plots that want to be explored but then cannot not be given the narrative weight in the time Ulsig has to perform, bringing with it a lack of clarity concerning Eva’s story.

Yet, despite the chaos of the narrative, Ulsig’s flare for comedy and her skill with multi-rolling is given its deserving spotlight. This is certainly a very unusual show, but Ulsig’s talents and skills as a performer are what make it special.

Anything Else?

Ulsig’s interaction with the internal persona of The Director of the movie of her life is a particular highlight of this piece, satirising the nature of high art film making and its pomposity.

Alexandra x

The Journey of a Warlike Mind is playing at the Cage, VAULT Festival until the 2nd of February 2020.

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