Day 3 started out very spiritually, and then segued into the profane (in the sense of “sacred and profane.”) Elena Velasco based her very cryptic story on “Day 6, Story 10” of The Decameron. We first meet a woman who is falling asleep. She seems to have been watching the news, and this informs her dream, or she has an out-of-body experience. In any event, she seems worn down and very low. The woman hears something. She gets up, and in the hallway, there is an almost two-dimensional, masked figure waiting and beckoning for her. He takes her on a journey down a path strewn with the detritus and abandoned goods of immigrants or other souls who have wandered this way. There is a large, fragile cross on the path and, as she sinks down onto the sand and stones beside it, the four-and-a-half minute segment is abruptly over. It felt truncated — whether deliberately or not, I couldn’t tell. It is difficult to follow another on a spiritual journey. The biggest caveat I had was that at about a third of the way in, the sound effect/musical instrument was so piercing, it was painful. In addition to Velasco, this segment was crewed by Nicolás Kent and Javier Kent, and mask design was by Savannah Kent and Elena Velasco.
Overall, Day 3 was a mix of existential angst and a reduction of life to its most basic needs.
Maryam Najafzada based her offering on Day 10, Story 4. This one packed a lot into just over seven minutes. It seemed almost fable-like in its belief that love will conquer all. A young man and woman have slept together. The young man still sleeps but the young woman drops her set of apartment keys on his bedside table saying she doesn’t want to get sick or watch him get sick and die — she couldn’t handle it. On her way out, she runs into another young woman who is ready to knock on the door. Obviously the two know nothing about each other. In the ensuing days the young man is sick and alone and delirious in his apartment. The second young woman has baked him cookies and goes to his apartment. When he opens the door swaying, he collapses in her arms. This was a highly romanticized, very young look at love. It speaks of self-sacrifice and certainly brought to mind the phrase, “in sickness and in health,” but it wasn’t particularly introspective. The actors were graceful and the perfect embodiment of their characters. Editing was by Shamil Najafzade, cinematography by Nutsa Tediashvili, with description by Alex Mills, and the other actors were Scott Brown and Nutsa Tediashvili.
Day 3’s final offering was by Renata Loman who based it on “Day 7, Story 2.” This is all about how there must always be time for the Sexy Time —‚pandemic or no, social distancing or no. There is a baseline story of a barrel that a husband and wife want to sell, but I’m not sure why. Basically, it’s snarky, raunchy, and silly. A young college girl is asking for guidance on something to write about for her online class in theatre and a wise older woman sighs deeply and gives her the answer — it’s all about the Sexy Time. The young girl (a puppet) is blank, and it does take some skill to make a deliberately arts-and-crafts puppet look blank, so the older woman sighs even more deeply and tells her a story. This is where the barrel comes in, and I still don’t know why. Although that barrel did end up being big enough for possibly three puppets to be having a polyamorous moment, Loman ended up doing a wonderful send-up of overwrought romantic triangles and dramas. The music was by Konstantine Lortkipanidze and camera work by Yulia Kriskovets.
Overall, Day 3 was a mix of existential angst and a reduction of life to its most basic needs. It did provide some laughs and the acting was on-point. And yes, I’m looking forward to Day 4.
Running Time: The vignettes vary between 3-1/2 and 12-1/2 minutes.
Show Advisory: On day 3, there are puppets having sex and puppet nudity. Although if you have seen ‘Avenue Q,’ that won’t even raise an eyebrow.
“The Decameron” runs July 10 through July 31, 2020, on a pay-what-you-can basis. For 10 days, three shows will be released each day. For more information, please click here.