Prague Fringe: Hummingbird

This week we’ve given PYT Advanced students the opportunity to develop their critical writing skills and share their personal opinions on our blog by reviewing Prague Fringe events. The festival runs from 26th May-3rd June.

Michelle Zabinski reviews ‘Hummingbird’…

Hummingbird copy.jpg

Hummingbird” is an acrobatic and visual ode to the American 1950’s that I did not understand. I am a true a tried lover of physical theatre; it’s what I most passionate about performing myself. I could tell that “Hummingbird” would have physical aspect because of the photo that is featured in the Fringe programme, a woman lying on a table with a man in suspenders doing a handstand above her to kiss her.

This was my first show of the Fringe season and I was sitting at the end of row in the third row in the cellar Divadlo Inspirace. “Hummingbird” was a beautifully crafted piece of theatre that embodied the love of physical and visual theatre. One table, two chairs, one lamp and three suitcases in which clothes came out of accompanied the small cast of three. My personal disclaimer is that I walked away so incredibly impressed and in awe of the coordination of the “Tooth and Nail Theatre Company.” I did not however connect with or appreciate the story of the lonely girl in the 1950’s who works at a barbershop.

The show opens with the narrator telling the audience that there was a murder and we see the victim’s clothes that were on the floor be walked back into the suitcases. We then meet the girl who then is transported into a life of luxury and acrobatic via the 1950’s version of Tinder. This woman stays with her lover even when he sleeps around with women from the dating company. She stays with him and he continues to sleep around. Her jealousy and rage climax when she comes home to find her lover in bed with another woman. She loses control and murders her. The two lovers run away in a frenzy that is captured by a silently beautiful car scene after the murder. Once the police catch them, they are extradited back to New York to be executed on the electric chair. This entire plot was portrayed through entrancing transformation of props and the focus and power of the cast.

I just didn’t get the point of the story. Was it a comment on the female experience in the 1950’s? On the judicial system? How women are radical and if their lover cheats they will kill the other women? How women are dependent on men for financial support? Slut shaming women? Reading other reviews of the show people has described “Hummingbird” as a love story. What archaic world are these people living in, in which exploitation, infidelity, murder and execution is a love story?

In the end I would recommend going to see “Hummingbird” it is less than an hour and there are moments I will admit to sitting on the edge of my seat due to the captivating visual stage imagery that was created. Perhaps you will find meaning where I did not, or you won’t.

You can check out Prague Fringe’s full programme, here.


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