Get Cultured — March 24, 2016 at 3:35 pm

HYENA Revels in the Contradiction of Life

Photo credit: Katelyn Rose Landis

Photo credit: Katelyn Rose Landis

Art in all its glory is an expression of an individual. Whatever that individual feels is what will become the work. Art is also a communal thing, assembling a group of individuals ready to unite their emotions and perspectives to reflect them unto us. Like a mirror with different realities which will answer yours, art has always been there to communicate things that can’t easily be said in words. Hyena by Romana Soutus is a great example of this, bursting onto the scene with awkwardness and slowly calibrating your sense toward her dark journey.

Soutus goes through her life, sharing intimacies, quirks, her perspective and her views. She takes us into a room with her deepest secrets and she unfolds them with complete glee. From violence to self-harm, from love to lust, each stage of her personality completely bare. This is as honest work as honest comes. Her bold approach to her own person was matched by the designers who created the world. Daring in its cynicism, adorable in its nastiness, Soutus navigated that spectacular stage knowing each movement, each step mastered with her director Rachel Levens. As she delves deeper into her own and reaches the pits where her inner beast resides, she enlightens her audience about the contradiction of body and mind. Person and manufactured. What it is to be female, and what it should be to be female. The massive contradiction of being a woman in this country is on full display, and this performance artist is not afraid to expose it.

Photo credit: Katelyn Rose Landis

Photo credit: Katelyn Rose Landis

This show will make a lot of people uncomfortable, I could see it in the audience. It’s not easy to see yourself in a dirty light and accept it, but that’s what this play does to you. And I love that. I love that she confronts the audience head-on with no constraints, and if that makes you feel odd, then good. You are the right audience, you are the person that needs to accept the beast and unleash it. If that scares you, then know that the technical aspects of this production are top notch. The work that Joey Mendoza and Gareth Hobbs did is of equal importance to Soutus’ performance. But what you should know the most, is that you will miss out on something truly remarkable if you don’t see this show.

I sat in the audience a day after I had hurt my broken foot, with my mother in the hospital, sadly off my game. That all changed once the lights dimmed and the show started. For a little over an hour, there was no pain, no worries, just what was on stage. The next day I will find out my foot is fine and it’s healing normally, and that my mother will recover. That thing passed, the issues were resolved, and in a year I will forget about those bad times. What I will not forget is the experience of seeing this show. “Hyena” will be playing at La MaMa until this Sunday.

Out of 4 stars:

Twisted Talk: Have you seen “Hyena”? Have you ever seen a one-woman show before? Discuss below!

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