Reviewed by Leonard Jacobs
Presented by and at La Mama E.T.C., 74A E. 4th St., NYC, Nov. 30-Dec. 17.
It's one thing for theatre to employ multimedia elements to advance the story, but another thing entirely to set one medium against the other. "Mirror Image," written and directed by Aminta deLara at La Mama E.T.C., does this, and it's hard to understand why.
The storyline, such as it is, is simple: deLara plays an architect who locks herself in her apartment on the day of an important presentation. This is equally meant to be metaphorical: a woman who must free herself from life's pressures—holding a job, managing a career, pursuing life and love.
While deLara, a Venezuelan actress, portrays this woman as if locked in a telenovela, we also see a film—of equal length to the work on stage—in which deLara also plays an architect who locks herself in her apartment on the day of an important presentation. And she, too, must metaphorically free herself from life's pressures. Clearly, an interesting dual idea.
The problem is, there's virtually no narrative whatsoever. The fact that the film is in Spanish makes no difference; we should be able to assemble the woman's story from the stage and screen images, especially when she's destroying scale models that undoubtedly represent her multi-tiered psyche. What's alarming is deLara's lack of understanding of how film can—and should—complement her story. Stage and film compete instead, and toward no end.
It's unfortunate, because deLara's creative team—lighting and photography by Carlos Ayesta; lulling, melodic music by María Eugenia Atilano; sound design by Nelson Sardá; sound programming by Héctor Hernández and María Eugenia Atilano; costumes by Beatrize deLara; video consulting by Luisa De La Ville; and Araceli Prieto as Assistant Director—have all obviously taken great care with this project, and perhaps even great pride.