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Theatre Gigante’s Three Other Sisters

Shepherd Express, Milwaukee, 14. March 2010

Three Others Sisters, the fine new work by Isabelle Kralj and Mark
Anderson that opened last weekend, is beautifully composed and deeply
felt. It was created and performed with the riveting actor/dancers
Simone Ferro and Janet Lilly, musician Seth Warren-Crow, and renowned
Slovenian singer/songwriter Vlado Kreslin. If given an opportunity to
develop through more than the three-night run afforded it, it could
become a signature work for Theatre Gigante.

The piece opens with images of three women (Kralj, Ferro and Lilly) in
identical old-fashioned dresses of gray, purple and red, motionless
before Rick Graham’s white window frames and glowing sea-blue
backdrop, under Nathan Booth’s good lighting, and accompanied by
Warren-Crow’s electronic wood block tick-tock rhythm. Kreslin enters,
representing the sailor from the Montenegrin tale that inspired the
piece. He woos each sister wordlessly, leaves her visibly changed,
then settles at the side of the stage and sings for the rest of the
hour as each woman waits in vain for her three-timing, faithless
lover. In the role of yearning balladeer, in a style that combines
the emotional candor and intimacy of a great cabaret singer with the
whisky voice of a rock troubadour, Kreslin is indeed the troubled
women’s soul mate.

Interestingly, the women’s obsession with their betrayer begins to
seem sick; they are no longer tragic, just creepy, and they know it.
“At what point,” Kralj’s character asks “does a choice become an
obvious mistake?” Funny episodes follow, including an extended,
stylized crying jag. The best moments for me came unexpectedly: after
taking us to disturbing places, the women sat lost in thought while
Kreslin sang. It felt profoundly intimate and utterly real, and
formed a shattering bond. We can “despair without despairing,”
Kralj’s character says, meaning learn to accept a shrunken fate. But
the piece protests that.

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