BWW Review: THE JOURNEY OF A WARLIKE MIND, VAULT Festival
Ana Luiza Ulsig brings the result of a nervous breakdown to VAULT Festival. In The Journey of a Warlike Mind she takes on the character of Eva, a young woman who's struggling with the societal pressure she feels compelled to give into while harbouring the desire to break free.
Eva challenges the voices she hears inside her head, sometimes falling prey of the chauvinism instilled into her since she was a child. She tackles toxic masculinity, feminism, and the internal battle between who she is and who society wants her to be in a heartfelt and very physical piece of theatre. While the links between the scenes she depicts aren't so clear, Ulsig is a stunning actress.
As she details the nature of her collapse - even though it feels more like an awakening - with tact, surges of rage fuel her self-discovery. Dance and movement pieces push the retelling while she breaks apart all the factors that led her to the brink. With subtle and poetic visuals, her unrelenting honestly accompanies a script that sees a series of events taking place in her own brain.
The show is impressive in its realisation and it's a joy to see Ulsig's transformation from one role to the next. There's a certain kind of nakedness in her storytelling that, however, sends the material into a convoluted spiral that culminates in an abrupt yet efficient scene of acceptance and rebirth.
This said, Ulsig stretches her acting muscles and proves herself a compelling and flexible thespian. She calls out the harmful elements that society thrusts upon women and delineates her own process of healing and growth, ultimately showing to the audience what lies behind the surface and spurring them to want more.