When the lights go up at Theatre Raymond Kabbaz for the French performance company Arcosm’s “Traverse,” lead Emilien Gobard is slumping in his recliner. He rises and repeats a seemingly uneventful daily routine again and again. He lives a ho-hum life, complacently lulled by its monotony. Yet his humdrum existence is the audience’s delight. His movements are graceful and precise; his body control impeccable. Gobard is a mime. Watching him do even the simplest acts is enjoyable. Surprisingly, there is also something amusing about the process of repetition when enacted poetically by a mime.
For the next hour, visitors pop in on Gobard unexpectedly: one beautiful woman who enters and exits, wrapped in a skin-tight dress, and two frenzied guys, who also come and go sporadically. They inject chaos into Gobard’s world, pushing him out of his comfort zone. It’s easy to lose yourself within Gobard’s disquieting journey, and feel the discomfort of the shove.
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