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  • Writer's pictureKayla Fiore

The Great Tamer; "Uncovering the Human Experience"

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

Dimitris Papaioannou transports each audience member into an alternate reality through his production of The Great Tamer. On January 19th 2019, the Power Center for the Performing Arts presented a visually stimulating production of ten artists that grapple with the meaning of life and the mystery of death. While each performer comes from a different artistic discipline, it’s nearly impossible to decipher between the self proclaimed actors vs. dancers on the Power Center stage. The performance begins the moment you walk into the auditorium to find your seat. The stage is open to a man standing on a raked surface configured of thin, square-shaped sheets of wood. The mystery man, dressed in a suit and tie, pans the audience until each person is seated. Papaioannou uses the circus as inspiration to create the title, The Great Tamer. From the second row, I could see intimate details of their “circus act.” Each of my senses were stimulated-- I was even able to smell the citrus orange being peeled at the edge of the proscenium stage.

The Great Tamer tells the struggle of human existence: what we love and what we wish for. The performers used time and space to create an assortment of illusions to tell their tale. Weaved into this performance was a fair amount of nudity: tasteful, yet noticeable that the male body was exposed more frequently than the female. However, he made a point to say in the post performance Q & A that he has “different approaches to the male body.” He explained how, because he owns a male body, he feels he can destroy it. “The female body isn’t mine to expose.”

Audience and performers surrender voluntarily to the game of imagination throughout this 100 minute experience. Manipulating time to create allusions to make your jaw drop.

Four men creating one body on stage during The Great Tamer Performance at the University of Michigan; Photo by Julian Mommer.

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