Theater Review

Six Characters in Search of an Author, adapted and translated by Ro’i Chen, directed by Yevgeny Arye, Gesher Theater.

By HELEN KAYE
March 13, 2010 18:38
1 minute read.
khan theater 88 298

khan theater 88 298. (photo credit: )

 
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Six Characters in Search of an Author
By Luigi Pirandello
Adapted and translated by Ro’i Chen
Directed by
Yevgeny Arye
Gesher Theater
March 8


Vulgar? Often. Blatant artifice? For sure. Art? Maybe. True to life? Depends on your point of view. Compelling theater? Absolutely.

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Six Characters juxtaposes theater and reality, life and art, art and artifice. The six characters interrupt the rehearsal of a Pirandello play, demanding to be heard, to be realized. Their author abandoned them in mid-creation, gave them life but denied them visibility.

The program notes suggest that “the sincere desire to exist, to be, becomes a craving for ratings,” which makes this play timely once again for the Big Brother generation, to which everything, but everything plays out in the open. Publicity is all.

Does the production work on its own terms? Yes. It deliberately mines excess, in Michael Kramenko’s deceptively simple set and costumes – the big-thrust stage shoves the action beyond the proscenium, where it needs to be – in the “characters”’ gestures and speech, in the “actors”’ studied reactions. The “real” and the “make-believe” are both heightened so that the one almost bleeds into the other.

Sasha Demidov is quietly magnificent as The Director, as is Yevgeny Terletzky as the Assistant Director. The Leading Lady and Man, Natalia Manor and Alon Friedman hold fast to their characters, even when they’re silent, Lilian Ruth’s Mother radiates power by its very minimalism, Moshe Ivgi as the Father and Neta Shpigelman as the Daughter are robustly present, while Yuval Yanay has a brilliant cameo as the awful Madame Pace.

Not least, Ro’i Chen’s adaptation has grabbed the essentials and brought the play within a modern audience’s attention span.

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