[42] LEO (Y2D Productions, in association with Chamäleon Productions): Fringe review

Leo, Y2D Productions, Chamäleon Productions, William Bonnet, Fringe review

Photo by Andy Phillipson

Montreal-based performer William Bonnet (formerly of 7 Fingers, who delighted in last year’s Philadelphia Live Arts with Sequence 8) executes a seamless blend of dance, acrobatics, gymnastics, magic, and mime in LEO, the psychological and physical study of a man trapped in isolation in a small room with a bare hanging light bulb. The anti-gravity illusion combines live performance, in an open-front and open-top horizontal box, with a live-feed video projection of the scene on a vertical screen next to it, flipped at a 90 degree angle. The audience gasps, laughs, and marvels at Bonnet and his props (a suitcase, a tie, a hat, a bottle of water) as they boggle the mind, fool the eye, contradict logic, and defy the laws of nature by appearing to hover in mid-air and to flow upward instead of down.

Employing chalk drawings, different genres of music, and digital animation, Bonnet shifts his mood from playful and creative to lonely and desperate, as he tries at first to amuse himself, then to escape his solitary situation. Both visually and metaphorically, he is beside himself, as he climbs the walls and drowns in his solitude. The split-second spatial precision of his bravura performance has amazed audiences around the world, and will leave you wondering which way is up and which way is down, what is real and what is imagined, and how’d he do that? [Arts Bank], September 12-22, 2013, livearts-fringe.org/festival/2013/leo.

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About the author

Debra Miller

Debra holds a PhD in Art History from the University of Delaware and teaches at Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ. She is a judge for the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre, Philadelphia Arts and Culture Correspondent for Central Voice, and has served as a Commonwealth Speaker for the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and President of the Board of Directors of Da Vinci Art Alliance. Her publications include articles, books, and catalogues on Renaissance, Baroque, American, Pre-Columbian, and Contemporary Art, and feature articles on the Philadelphia theater scene.