Ambitious yeti dances into Siberia

19:40, Feb 13 2014
Tony Allain
WHIMSY: Further scenes from The 7 Person Chair Pyramid High Wire Act

Quirky, imaginative and defiantly edgy, on tour from Philadelphia USA, The 7 Person Chair Pyramid High Wire Act comes to Nelson direct from the Wellington Fringe Festival.

Two performers on a tiny stage unfold Darwin's laboratory, unfurl anatomical diagrams of the yeti, and try to tease out the difference between miracles and non-miracles.

Written by Donna Oblongata and presented by Der Vorfuhreffekt Theatre, the show was made with long-time collaborator Sarah Lowry, and visual artist/performer Patrick Costello.

Tony Allain
COMPANIONS: Darwin and his little brown bat in a scene from The 7 Person Chair Pyramid High Wire Act.

Oblongata's theatrical work has been credited by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the reasons Baltimore had the "best scene in the country".

The storyline defies synopsis, but simply put involves hardware-store technics, slide projections, an old radio, admirable puppets, gorgeously-painted banners, and the sophisticated use of a tiny travelling stage space.

It all comes together in a series of events that, while not conventionally logical, "ring with emotional truth and, like ripples in a pond, seem to expand out into the universe."

In the wilds of Siberia, Charles Darwin goes off in search of the yeti. The yeti (if she exists) enters a radio station's dance contest, hoping to win an all-expenses-paid vacation to a place that does not exist yet. Darwin's research companion, a little brown bat, falls in love with the radio station's electromagnetic emissions; but how could that ever end happily? Meanwhile, Siberia's caves are home to a secretive tribe of ropemakers, but their disintegrating family structure may cause their ancient craft to be lost forever.