This fast-paced, sharp writing from Louis Viljoen focuses on a man’s (Rob Van Vuuren) rapid descent into madness. His feelings of belittlement and disapproval are at the forefront of his mind as he longs to be noticed by a beautiful girl, Sophie. Sophie is completely unaware of his obsessive advances, but the storyteller invites the audience on the journey as fascinated, uncomfortable witnesses.
Van Vuuren is a post-modern Mad Hatter, with his minimalist white table and chair set upon a white square on the floor. Conventions are mixed, as the actor gives the window as much presence as the table and chair, yet it is not physically present. He is thoroughly immersed in the piece from start to finish, giving the unanimated objects an unbelievable amount of status and personality by painting the stage with his vivid words. Van Vuuren has no shame with his hilarious and filthy antics, making it easy to forget the chair is in fact just a chair and not a poor unwilling victim.
His intense ramblings snowball until they lead him to believe he is ‘the King’. Filled with confidence and a need to quell his thirst, he finally catches poor Sophie in his sticky web. Van Vuuren barely takes a breath for the entirety of the piece (the writing does not allow him to) and each word is said with immense vigour and force. His wonderfully animated face captivates the audience and provides an open and intense account of the story.
This piece showcases the darkest form of clowning, as Van Vuuren throws himself nimbly around the stage and thrusts himself onto the simple objects, much to the audience’s delight and horror. “I am not nothing! I am something!”, the character cries in his final, semi-sadistic rant, permitting the audience to feel pity for this feeble, dishonorable character. All in all, Dangled is a performance that is rapid, exhausting and completely electric.