Few signs of fatigue

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 March, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 March, 1996, 12:00am

ALVARO Restrepo performs the whole of Rebis centre-stage and completely in the nude using his body to make shapes and movements never seen before.

As the lights slowly went up a painted gourd appeared, looking like a tombstone. Gradually we became aware of a motionless, alien shape coming into focus behind it.

And then the shape moved - the squat, leggy movements of a giant tarantula - and made sounds of astonishing pre-verbal energy; as the alien creature engaged with the gourd we were entering the world of Rebis.

The clay gourd became the central focus of the piece as the red and blue body-painted alien took it up and began scooping neon dust from it and ritualistically sowing it around a soil-covered stage in alchemic pattern.

The lighting, crucial to the unearthly environment of the piece, picked up the clay soil about to be scattered with dust and for the first 20 minutes of the piece those not sitting in the expensive seats close to the stage were able to watch the magic mandela, depicting the squaring of the circle, unfold its pattern.

The 'music', composed by Gabriel Ossa, reinforced the extraterrestrial dimension of the piece - heavy, labouring electronic sounds mixed in with the non-human voice sounds of Restrepo himself.

Restrepo has been performing Rebis for 10 years now but there was no sign of metal fatigue.

It is an intensely personal piece that still draws the audience and holds them in a state of fascination, a piece obviously nourished from deep within the artist.

And the main wonder of it is the use of space - centre-stage claimed in a slow but intense occupation with a masterly integration of movement, music and lighting.

Rebis, Compania Alvaro Restropo, APA Drama Theatre, March 4