WASHINGTON, DC – In an homage to the genius of Da Vinci, Writer/Director Mary Zimmerman brings us into the mind of the master through his observations. Presented in magical realism, she interweaves his observations on the science of the universe in extraordinarily elegant fashion, casting actors accomplished in the art of kinetic motion and physical expression through mime, gesture, and speech. The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci Is an elegant exploration into Da Vinci’s thought-provoking revelations. “Instants are the boundaries of time,” Leonardo explains.
Da Vinci’s musings and experiments were far from pedestrian. He studied and analyzed everything from vanishing perspective to the dynamics of motion in order to achieve mathematical perfection through his painting. With his concept of the “18 positions of man” he devised modes of thinking to explain how the physical body should be portrayed on canvas through the “harmony of proportion”. “The body is a machine,” he concluded.
Acrobatic Consultant Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi along with Movement Consultant Tracy Walsh present these complicated intellectual concepts in lyrically and quite often humorously choreographed vignettes designed to express Da Vinci’s logic and conclusions as he strived to explain all earthly life.
As beautifully depicted as these complex ideations are, the spirit of the writer’s musings is the always the focus as expressed by an exceptional cast practiced in balletic movement and speech. It is sensuous, stunning and intellectually stimulating. There is nothing superfluous in its examination of the mind of the artist/inventor as he ponders the flight of a bird. “A bird is an instrument working according to mathematical law.” He examined the dynamics of the folds of curtains with his theory on drapery as much as he did that of the complexities of nature.
The cast is credited with being all “Leonardos”. They are Adeoye, Christopher Donahue, Kasey Foster, John Gregorio, Anthony Irons, Louise Lamson, Andrea San Miguel, and Wai Yim.The harmony and grace of their physical interactions are utterly mesmerizing.
Scenic Design by Scott Bradley who imagines Leonardo’s life as walls of wooden file drawers from which are pulled the many props used in the production; Costume Designer Mara Blumenfeld whose clever interpretation gifts us with both athletic wear and Italian Renaissance period apparel; Lighting Designer T. G. Gerckens; Sound Design and Original Music by Michael Bodeen; Original Music by Miriam Sturm.
Highly creative, extraordinarily elegant and utterly enchanting, I would give it five stars (if I gave out stars, which as you know I do not).
Through October 29th at the Klein Theatre 450 7th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004. For tickets and information call the box office at 202 547-1122 or visit www.ShakespeareTheatre.org.