August 9, 2018
Fine Arts – David Gaines, 7 (x1) Samurai
Akira Kurosawa has nothing on David Gaines, who performs his 7 (x1) Samurai all by himself in less than 60 minutes when it took the Japanese auteur 3½ hours and a cast of maybe a million. Gaines, a French-trained, northern Virginia-based actor and director, turns his take on Seven Samurai into an captivating combination of movement and sound – absolutely refined and graceful movement, absolutely precise and hilarious sound. Gaines tells the famous story, about a village that defends itself against a band of brigands by engaging a septet of samurai, by taking on all the roles but using a kind of cartoon gibberish: It sounds like Japanese but turns out to be inspired sound effects. When a brigand rides a horse, the sound comes out, “Be-bobbity-bobbity-bob”; when a horse runs him over, it’s “poof, pang,” and a brigand being eviscerated sounds like “spling, splat.” All in fake Japanese, but there’s nothing patronizing about it, and Gaines’ movements are so considered that you don’t want to miss a gesture. He can mime a hapless samurai who keeps stabbing himself or the muscles on a brigand’s arm, and each movement is both gorgeous and comical. Japanese epics may not be your thing, but Gaines brings a new kind of nobility to this one. It’s bravura storytelling, nothing less. – Elizabeth Maupin, The Orlando Sentinal
RESERVATIONS: General admission, no advance reservations. Open to public at no charge.