This is likely to be one of the oddest, funniest and sweetest shows at the festival this year. With only two performers – one with a TV monitor strapped to his head, the other wearing a projector – it creates an utterly unique world with a colourful visual language entirely of its own.
Conjector (Mamoru Iriguchi) and Projector (Selina Papoutseli) are anthropomorphised elements of theatre, divided from the audience by a white sheet, which is shifted when they move ‘front’ and ‘back’ stage. Their movements are dictated by the images they screen and project, some of which are scrolling words.
This dry description doesn’t do justice to what follows, as the pair follow the demands of these images and act out a sci-fi opera mashed up with a tragic romance. They may not be agents of their actions, but, collectively, the motions they make become an approximation of character.
It’s a novel way of exploring the notion of identity – one which reflects the interests of the show’s creator, Iriguchi, in gender and sexuality. Projector and Conjector are dressed in white overalls, on which are crudely drawn genitals. Here, gender is performative, an almost childlike role-play.
The pair track a cartoon-like spaceship around the walls of the venue until it crashes into the Planet of Swan Lake. Their actions blur with the blocky animation of a world consisting (unsurprisingly) of swans.
With Tchaikovsky blaring in the background, they enact a pregnancy in which it transpires that Conjector is actually carrying a baby swan. Projector shoots him for adultery and then they clear up the stage and start the performance again for another unseen audience.
The sincerity with which these absurd events are played out is the joy of the piece. This is classic comedy – humour derived from characters being completely unaware that they’re being funny – applied with a modern spin to theatre and dance. Conjector and Projector have no notion of ‘acting’; performance is all they are.
Iriguchi also has fun with the space, as Conjector has to shuffle carefully from left to right to keep up with scrolling sentences. At various points, he pulls items that appear on his screen (a knife, a sword) out into the ‘real’ world. These great sight gags bring together low and hi-tech brilliantly – true of the show as a whole.
The careful precision with which Papoutseli and Iriguchi have to move, trailing power cables, adds to the quirky atmosphere. There’s a real feel of the silent movie to their unspeaking interaction as they screen words of love and condemnation and fire love darts at each other.
There’s also a lot of science and cultural theory bubbling under the surface, from parthenogenesis to the role of fairy tales in society. But it’s woven seamlessly into the bonkers aesthetic of this clever and uplifting slice of joyful weirdness.