Sappho…in 9 Fragments- Review

Meaghan Flaherty

                A modern re-telling of a Greek tale, Sappho …in 9 Fragments, is a visual masterpiece. Performed by Victoria Grove, the set of scaffolding filled with ropes demands physical acrobatics to maneuver through the space. Grove uses physicality to embody the characters of Sappho and Attis, and tells their love story from the two perspectives. Despite the story being a tad confusing in the beginning, Sappho is so beautiful  and technically perfect that it should be on the must see list for anyone looking for something more visually intricate.

The lighting design of this piece was excellent. The lights created the most beautiful shadows on the ropes and Grove herself.  There were moments that took my breath away, such as when Grove said the word “poof” and the lights faded down then back up seamlessly in time with her speaking rhythm. Groves’ physical strength is fantastic to see; she has perfect control over her body and the set at all times, as she manipulates the ropes to cradle her body in a hammock, or falls backwards, seemingly blind, only to be caught and suspended by the ropes. As I mentioned, the script is confusing at first. It took me a while to realize that Grove was playing two characters, but about 15 minutes into the piece it became much more obvious, as the characters are performed so differently. The tantalizing and scandalous story is very engaging, though there are many references that are for the Ancient Greek scholars that may be lost on others. The text in and of itself is gorgeously poetic. Even when I was lost a bit, the words were still beautiful to listen to, especially considering Grove’s magnificent stage presence; she truly captures the stage and the material.

Presented by Tenth Muse Theatre (London, UK) and Troupe de la Lune (Ottawa, ON)

Written by Jane Montgomery Griffiths

Starring Victoria Grove

Directed by Jessica Ruano

Designed by Ana Ines Jabares

Lighting Design by Sarah Crocker

Sound Design by Luca Romagnoli

Aerial Consultant –  Jani NightChild

Graphic Artist – Darren Lacey

Playing at the Arts Court Library