Journal

Babble May 13, 2011

by Eric Pitsenbarger

The babbling of a made-up language is fun and funny. It's also beautiful, melodic and expressive. Reminiscent of more recognizable sounds it's also quite serious and not babbling at all, but makes perfect sense...I can understand what's being said and what's illustrated by such effecting performances. Individual stories, the progression and resolution of drama, all the chewy details delivered.

Impressive, as these performers have all rehearsed and speak the same 'language' quite fluently; and once swiftly past the initial barrier of questions in the nonsense, the crafty and odd gibberish that tweaks the ear with clues, everything is made crystal clear. 

The idea of El Gallo: that language is only one way into an understanding as we partake in the audition, rehearsal and final performance of a new choral work.  We're taken deep inside, with accompanying octet of strings marrying themes that are part of the final 'performance'. It's like being given a visceral, empathetic map...the language of music supporting and guiding our attention. It's also so exciting to observe the beautiful, nuanced faces of this international cast. Features and quirks brought to bare as spirits manage past challenges and into harmony. Multi hued characters telegraphed by every tool available, their bodies flung about, stripped and exposed; the 'babble' of a made-up language further reflecting the otherness while also making more visible, the very sameness of one another. 

Language is a color wheel, a design, a collaboration and doorway into discovery. Articulation of mysteries through the cypher of theater, El Gallo is a treasure box of ways into understanding. Experiencing magic in a new language translated via heightened reality of a stage and actors who are tapped into this new 'normal'. The delight and epiphany in the suspension of what is learned, what is known and what one can now understand, is a remarkable thing. Bravo!

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