Last week, students from The Prospect Theatre Company (PTC), an enrichment initiative made up of second year Performing Arts students, performed their interpretation of Theatre de Complicite’s, ‘The Street of Crocodiles’. Theatre de Complicite’s work is internationally renowned for its ensemble nature and its imaginative uses of style, drawing upon dramatic forms such as multirole, physical theatre skill and puppetry to name a few.
Based on Bruno Schulz’s loosely autobiographical short stories, ‘The Street of Crocodiles’ charts the story of Joseph, a young writer forced into work as a librarian for the Gestapo during World War II, who escapes into nostalgic memories of his family life through the promptings of the books he catalogues.
Despite its intellectual and artistic level of challenge - the piece jumps continuously back and forth in time and one is never quite sure whether the characters are imaginary or real - the company made most impressive use of physical theatre, acting variously as birds or flies and bringing inanimate objects to life to reflect the magical talents of Herr Jacob, Joseph’s father. Students portrayed a whole range of roles, from the naughty children in a classroom to the members of Joseph’s family.
Most memorably, PTC succeeded in working as a real ensemble, in which the story they told took precedence and roles were passed seamlessly from one actor to another, all with the effect of maintaining the wonderful illusion of Schulz’s imagination. Rebecca Lewis-Verebelyi company director for PTC said, “They should be very proud of all they’ve achieved.”