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THE SHOOTING GALLERY (article first published : 2006-07-8)

There’s no denying that The Shooting Gallery which appears on the main programme of the National Arts Festival has marvellous imagery and the ideas and philosophy behind the production are sound. What results, however, is an over-long piece where statements are made and over-made until the audience is in danger of feeling patronised.

It’s a clever interaction of physical theatre alongside computer and video technology but if a good 20 minutes were cut, I think it would become the stunning piece it has the potential to be.

Presented by The Market Theatre, The Shooting Gallery is an A Glasshouse/Huis A D Werf Production. It is conceived and directed by Catherine Henegan who also produced the narrator’s text and appears on stage working behind a computer.

Aryan Kaganof appears as The Actor and The Photographer, at one time hanging naked from the roof for a good 20 minutes before he is deposited into a circle lit by candles.

The Photographer’s text is by Kees Roorda and the project initiator is Yvonne Franquinet. Lighting is designed by Wesley France.

The production aims to deal with the moral dilemmas and challenges of photographers in a conflict zone – take the photograph that will shock the world and thereby bring stronger focus on the situation or go for a “softer” and less stomach-churning image? Is it right to accept personal gain at the suffering of others? Can one cope with the relentless exposure to horrific situations?

The above issues are strong on paper – in this production they didn’t transfer successfully to the stage. - Caroline Smart




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