Ino Moxo – Southbank Centre, London

Choreographer: Ana Zavala, Oscar Naters

Reviewer: Margarita Shivarova

Based on Cesar Calvo’s novel “Three Halves of Ino Moxo: Teachings of the Wizard of the Upper Amazon” the production delivered by Grupo Integro touches on universal themes through a deeply enrooted cultural experience. The audience is as much a witness as an indirect participant of rituals displaying a conscious transcendence and reestablishment of the connection between humans, animals and the Earth.

The story of the book only forms a base for reference to the main impersonations of Ino Moxo, a legendary ayahuasca shaman who made prophecies about climate change, conflicts over the rights of indigenous nations such as the Amawaka, and the outcomes of a shift in the perspective of power over others. The complexity and confusion that accompany opening up a conversation on these topics could be overwhelming, yet Grupo Integro smartly manage to stay objective and purely project the array of emotions involved.

The use of visuals to give context to the performance is crucial and also well-balanced in terms of directing the audience’s focus without too much pressure on understanding content through words, but rather through the sensual experience of the performers. The medicinal chants, Icaros, delivered by Ino Moxo (Rawa) enhance the spiritual essence of the piece, thus breaking the boundaries of a theatre performance as defined in the Western world and elevating the emotional experience on the receiving end. On-going reference to what stands above us through the moments of high-level catharsis and trans further contributes to reminding the audience of how we, as humans, stand as part of rather than on top of a living chain.

The ensemble’s previous experience in performing some of the traditional dances is evident especially when the core of a sequence holds onto well-developed sense of harmony. On the other hand, seamless transitions between scenes of stillness and such of heavy physical involvement help the audience digest the different levels of energy passed onto it.

Lighting and sound of the piece are the features that transport the audience to an atmosphere of calmness, flow and balance in the first few minutes even before any of the cast is visible. Sounds one can hear in a jungle are also carefully crafted to communicate scenes of safety and of danger. Yet again by naturally utilising our sensual connection to the surrounding world the piece highlights that humans are bound to actively be part of it rather than act against it.

Reviewed on 15 June 2019 | Image: Contributed

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