An extraordinary merger of cinematic and theatrical art suffuses “Historia de Amor,” which concludes its North American premiere engagement at REDCAT on Sunday.
This mordant, uncommonly arresting production from Chile’s acclaimed Teatrocinema troupe doesn’t just borrow film and animation elements -- it absorbs them into live performance to create an entirely new form.
Based on French writer Régis Jauffret’s graphic novel, “Historia” unfolds from the point of view of an unnamed English teacher whose obsession with Sofia, a passive young woman he sees on the subway, begins with rape and spirals downward from there.
In the process, “Historia” creates an unsettling allegory of abuse, dehumanization and the fragmentation of persona in a corrupt society that suggests what might happen if Alfred Hitchcock, Simone de Beauvoir, Luis Buñuel, Roman Polanski and Stan Lee dropped LSD in Santiago.
Add in an awe-inspiring raft of designers and technicians, with Zagal’s Bernard Herrmann-esque music and Matias Del Pozo’s sound particularly incisive, and you have as jaw-dropping, hard-to-shake an example of New Theater virtuosity as anything L.A. has seen since “André and Dorine” at Los Angeles Theatre Center. “Historia de Amor” isn’t easy in its message or story, but just try to look away.
“Historia de Amor,” REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., Los Angeles. 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday. Ends Sunday. For mature audiences. $30. (213) 237-2800 or www.redcat.org. Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.