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Review: Cut.It.Off by Katimari Niskala at KoKo-theatre

Cut.It.Off by Katimari Niskala is an abstract performance on facing the thoughts that lie to you and trap you in a box of your own mind.

Cut.It.Off by Katimari Niskala is an abstract performance on facing the thoughts that lie to you and trap you in a box of your own mind.

The description of the show got me intrigued because I am interested in directing and making similar kind of theatre in the future; symbolic, which brings mental things physically on stage. Therefore I might be a little biased and have strict opinions, but it's only because I'm passionate on the subject as well.

Katimari Niskala certainly has put great thought and work into their performance, showing bright imagination.

After the very first lines I immediately wrote down "quality theater (tasokasta teatteria)". The colors red and blue are clearly set with good contrast. The only realistic peace of prop is the pillow, which towards the end is used to break the absurd setting, letting us view a bit more realistic scene, which worked. Also the important starting line is repeated in the performance, giving a good emphasis on the subject.

Niskala has made a good choice in terms of connecting with the audience. Their thoughts are clearly shared and talked aloud for the audience to wonder and co-think. The social media archtypes were also very clever.

The colors red and blue are a reference to Matrix. The performer talks about taking the blue pill, which in the Matrix franchise means remaining in the World, seeing it like before. Taking the red pill would mean to have a change in the perspective, seeing the World's matrixes and patterns. After this comes a scene where they begin to dance. I saw how they at times were in the rhythm as if a puppet or a robot of the capitalism, which makes everyone think one should have a life purpose or something to aim for, which they also talked about earlier. Then at times they were in their own flow. If this is the right interpretation I think the contrast between these styles could have been easily emphasized with more accurate rhythmings and changes in the style, transforming it from a good scene to a great scene.

Also something I found quite challenging in terms of following was that there were at times as much visuals as there was text. This is not a new thing in the field. If there is strong text and deep emotion there should be less movement and visuals so we could actually focus on the message. And on the other way around if there is a lot of meaningful movement and visuals telling a story there should be less text spoken. A balance and rhythm is important and this time it could have been refined a little more.

In the best moments I was able to view the performer to be very hash on themselves through the spoken thoughts, until I recognised that I'm doing the same thing to myself. So I think Niskala has succeeded in their hope for having an emotional impact on the audience.

This was certainly an important piece and well thought out. Their pronunciation is excellent and the spoken word style text is poetic and refined. With some technical changes the performing itself could have been a little more open and in conncetion to the audience. For example when they fought with the thoughts, the ball of strings, they were inside the box sideways. The time looking at this grew a bit long, because we weren't able to see the performer's face.

All in all Cut.It.Off is a survival story that focuses on bringing mental struggles physical in a symbolic sense. It's well thought out and has great potential, reminding us that the key to outsmart demanding thoughts is to accept and laugh at them.

Esiintyjä, AD, konsepti: Katimari Niskala
Valosuunnittelu: Pinja Kokkonen
Graafinen suunnittelu, juliste ja äänisuunnittelu: Moe Mustafa
Pukusuunnittelu: Havina Jäntti

Text: Rosanna Liuski

Review: Cut.It.Off by Katimari Niskala at KoKo-theatre

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