Imagine being transported onto the pages of a gritty, noir-esque, black-and-white graphic novel. The Chilean ensemble Teatrocinema closely replicates that experience, bringing its provocative, digital mash-up of live art and cinematic storytelling to the REDCAT this week with its production of "Historia de Amor."
Digital backgrounds composed of animation and 2-D and 3-D video footage merge with traditional staging. One screen, a translucent scrim, projects animated images onto and around the actors, allowing them to interact. Behind the stage, another screen projects background imagery. Tricky choreography within small, stylized freeze frames resembling book panels results in a seamless, stark and edgy aesthetic. And yes there are the familiar CRASH!- KAPOW!-like speech bubbles.
Fusing virtual and physical worlds allows Teatrocinema to tackle the serious topic of abuse in a nuanced setting. Based on the 1999 French graphic novel of the same name by Regis Jauffret, "Historia de Amor," tells the story of an English teacher's abduction and abuse of a young woman. Teatrocinema founders Juan Carlos Zagal and Laura Pizarro, both from Chile, trace the themes of devaluation and fragmented lives to the restrictions imposed on Chileans during the 17-year rule of dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet.
The performance runs from March 31 to April 3 at REDCAT in downtown L.A. www.redcat.org