Absurd Person Singular
By Alan Ayckbourn
Translated by Assaf Tzippor
Directed by Ravid Davara
Absurd Person Singular, or Shalosh Mesibot (Three Parties) in Hebrew, follows the fluctuating professional and personal fortunes of three couples through three successive Christmas parties. At each of the parties something goes wrong, is missing or misunderstood: an allegory of the peoples' stunted emotional lives. This theme runs consistently through any Ayckbourn play, but interferes not a whit with its marvelously constructed slapstick.
The first party is at Sidney (Dov Navon) and Jane's (Yael Leventhal) house. Sidney is an on-the-make contractor. Jane, his loyal and somewhat dim-witted wife, is a compulsive cleaner. There we meet architect Geoffrey (Dvir Bendek) and his depressed wife Eva (Sandra Schonwald), banker Ronald (Albert Iluz) and his wife, the increasingly alcoholic Marion (Orli Zilberschatz), at whose respective homes the other parties take place.
The parties are held in the couples' kitchens, always the heart - here ironically - of a home. Sidney and Jane's immaculate kitchen is an eye-boggling yellow, peach and light green, Geoffrey and Eva's a trendy red and black, while Ronald's - as if designer Eytan Levi had run out of ideas - is an amorphous cavern.
Director Davara has a deft hand with the slapstick, especially in Act II during which Eva tries unsuccessfully to commit suicide, but never quite comes to grips overall with the destructive force of emotional constipation.
The actors' diction, especially Navon's, needs work. Leventhal and Schonwald thoroughly inhabit their characters. The rest do their best.
NB: An Englishwoman would not be going barefoot in mid-December. Sherry is not served in a brandy snifter.