Tag: play

Indecent

Cort Theatre, New York
2017-05-16 • 19:00

Sholem Asch’s Yiddish-language play The God of Vengeance (1907) provides most of the context for this contemporary work. Asch was born in Poland. He owed much of his early fame to The God of Vengeance, which was created in German at Berlin’s Deutsches Theater before being presented in may other countries, including the United States, where it was produced on Broadway, at the Apollo Theatre, in 1923.

The play was (and probably still is) controversial because of the way it mixes religion with sexuality and other profane themes. Paula Vogel has used a rather common theatrical device by having a “generic” troupe of actors portray Asch’s friends and family as well as various actors that presented The God of Vengeance over the years. In doing so, she has managed to touch subtly on many sensitive issues… although one might wonder in the end what Indecent is truly about (assuming a play has to be about something).

The staging is an integral part of the conceit of the play… and it’s doubtful Indecent could ever be presented in any other fashion. It’s inspired, sometimes a little pretentious, sometimes very powerful in its ability to literally suspend time. The play-within-a-play device works wonders, repeatedly.

The cast is wonderful… but Richard Topol’s performance as Lemml, the simple tailor who falls in love with The God of Vengeance and becomes a life-long advocate of the play, has to be singled out for its honesty and generosity.

There is a particularly striking moment in the play which reminds us that, as Jews were sent to their deaths by thousands in Europe during WWII, the rest of the World was sometimes trying to think happier thoughts. It doesn’t appear to be meant as a judgment, just as an observation on History… but it does deliver a powerful punch. That’s what good theatre does.

By Paula Vogel.
Directed by Rebecca Taichman. With Katrina Lenk, Mimi Lieber, Max Gordon Moore, Tom Nelis, Steven Rattazzi, Richard Topol, Adina Verson, Matt Darriau, Lisa Gutkin, Aaron Halva.

Obsession

Barbican Theatre, London
2017-05-07 • 15:00

After Les Damnés, Ivo van Hove has created another screen-to-stage adaptation of a Visconti movie. I still can’t really see the point, all the more as the use of microphones deprives the endeavour of some layers of theatricality. Van Hove’s trademark rawness is still there — magnificently defended by a superb cast —, but the physical characteristics of the production create a sense of distance that keeps the audience on the outside.

Conceived and directed by Ivo van Hove. With Jude Law, Halina Reijn, Gijs Scholten van Aschat, Chukwudi Iwuji, Robert de Hoog, Aysha Kala.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead


Old Vic, London
2017-04-29 • 14:30

I had never seen Tom Stoppard’s 1966 brilliant play about two peripheral characters from Hamlet lost in bewilderment as to what’s going on in Shakespeare’s tragedy… as well as in life generally. Its very peculiar brand of wit, combined with a Brechtian knack for the absurd, make it a hugely entertaining experience, very well served here by Daniel Radcliffe and Joshua McGuire.

Vu du pont (A View From the Bridge)

aviewfromthebridge

Odéon / Ateliers Berthier, Paris
2017-01-18 • 20:00

Cette interprétation brute et percussive de la pièce d’Arthur Miller a vu le jour à Londres en 2014 avant d’être présentée à Broadway en 2015. Dans les deux cas, le succès public et critique fut considérable.

C’est une transposition à l’identique, mais en français, qu’a proposé l’Odéon la saison dernière au même moment que la création à Broadway avant de la reprendre cette année.

L’expérience est électrique. Ivo van Hove a dépouillé la pièce de toute distraction visuelle pour délivrer un concentré de tragédie d’une crudité et d’une violence révélatrices et captivantes. Distribution exemplaire menée par l’étonnant Charles Berling.

Difficile de reprendre ses esprits après le final coup-de-poing que nous réserve le metteur en scène belge, décidément l’une des forces créatrices les plus étonnantes du théâtre contemporain.

Texte français : Daniel Loayza.
Mise en scène : Ivo van Hove.
Avec Charles Berling (Eddie), Caroline Proust (Béatrice), Pauline Cheviller (Catherine), Laurent Papot (Marco), Nicolas Avinée (Rodolpho), Alain Fromager (Alfieri), …