The ninth annual Ringling International Arts Festival kicked off Wednesday evening with a party and a performance taking advantage of The Ringling’s bayfront grounds.
Before a performance by Italian duo Andrea and Luca Piallini, in eventi Verticali’s Wanted, guests mingled in the West Courtyard, sipping drinks and sampling bites from local restaurateurs, while also strolling the grounds and testing their skills on vintage arcade games.
The games were connected, in a way, to the performance, which featured the Piallini brothers dangling, climbing, and just generally cavorting in harnesses from a towering outdoor video screen. The show begins with one of the brothers dressed as a police inspector hunting for a wanted criminal in the audience (hence the name of the show), but quickly moves to that screen, where animated and computer visuals take them and us from one landscape to another. (Fabio Lanza is responsible for the drawings seen.) Some are natural—seas, mountains, etc.—some are video game backgrounds from an earlier generation (Pac-Man and Super Mario, anyone?). There’s even a jail cell in one sequence that has them wearing prisoners’ stripes.
It’s a fairly brisk 45-minute performance (about the right length for the concept) that is sometimes amusing and sometimes notable mainly for the brothers’ athletic and acrobatic skills, which are considerable. It can be dizzying just to watch them as they manage their costume changes and facial expressions while frequently hanging upside down; it’s hard to imagine what it must be like for them.
There’s more to come from RIAF this week; for schedule and ticket information, call (941) 360-7399 or visit ringling.org.