Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
Also see Susan's recent review of Something Moving: A Meditation on Maynard
Longtime company members Alex Mills and Irakli Kavsadze counterbalance each other ably as Poe's distraught narrator, now named Edgar after his creator, and the elderly man for whom Edgar provides care. In the Old Man's decrepit house, which as designed by Daniel Pinha seems in constant motion itself (dusty shelves revolve and shocking apparitions emerge), the constantly agitated Edgar begins to buckle as he is forced to endure his employer's violent outbursts and nonsensical rants. While Edgar swears that he has no anger toward the man himself, he admits to being maddened by the fact that one of the man's eyes is clouded and "vulture-like."
The company's movement-driven storytelling shifts into nightmare as Edgar finds himself propelled toward violence by a pack of human-size vultures (Lev Belolipetski, Kaitlyn Shifflett, Tony Amante, Josh Lucas, Zana Gankhuyag, and Vato Tsikurishvili) in forbidding black coats, red masks, and metallic beaks (costumes designed by Erik Teague). Blood is spilled and bodies attacked, all in a slow-motion, surrealistic haze as lit by Brian S. Allard. One powerful scene is lit solely by flashlights held by company members.
Choreographer Irina Tsikurishvili further draws the viewer into Edgar's troubled mind with otherworldly visions, such as when the vultures take Edgar and the Old Man to a ghostly carnival. Brandon Cook's sound design blends existing pieces of music with original compositions by Koki Lortkipanidze that expand the hallucinogenic scene into the audience.
The Tell-Tale Heart runs through November 5, 2023, at Synetic Theater, 1800 S. Bell St., Arlington VA. For tickets and information, please call 866-811-4111 or visit www.synetictheater.org.
Directed by Paata Tsikurishvili