Theater Review: Private Investigator

The play is a dense, impassioned, sometimes close to bleak piece. Despair lurks, until slashes of humor and hope send it back to its shadowland.

By HELEN KAYE
February 15, 2012 21:52
1 minute read.
Private Invesigator

Private Invesigator play. (photo credit: Gadi Dagon)

 
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Private Investigator is a dense, impassioned, sometimes close to bleak piece. Despair lurks, until slashes of humor and hope send it back to its shadowland.

Yes. Here and there it sags a bit.

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Never mind. It is one of the finest, most intelligent, challenging and absorbing pieces of theater I have seen in a long time.

Who are we? What are we? One or many? What brings us together or pulls us apart? Where do I end and you begin? “Only connect,” as E.M.Forster has famously said. But is that true? PI seems to be asking these questions through a so ordinary story line. Mrs Wietzman (Irit Pashtan) comes to the PI (Nir Ron). She wants him to find her husband (Erez Shafrir), who has been missing for five days. From the beginning, the coincidences pile up. Or do they? Nothing is what it seems. Relationships, encounters, incidents huddle and separate, orchestrated by a billowing, swelling, now stormy, now quiescent fabric sea that the actors manipulate.

PI is set in a skewed, decaying urban landscape by Svetlana Breger. Judit Aharon’s meticulous costumes supply what color there is. Yoni Rechter’s deceptively simple melodies complement the dramatic tension of Schubert’s tragic Erlkönig, while Sharon Stark’s atmospheric lighting pulls it all together.

The cadaverous Nir Ron beautifully underplays the PI. He always seems to be holding back, to be on the point of, never completely committing, and therefore looms powerful.

Irit Pashtan is very believably unbelievable, shifty almost, as Mrs. Weitzman. “Tell her I’m alive,” the missing husband says to the PI. He isn’t. Not really, and Erez Shafrir puts that skillfully across.

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Sisters Bettine and Minna, very different the one from the other, are sensitively portrayed by Carmit Mesilati-Kaplan and Orit Gal, respectively.

Indeed, the acting in this production is excellent, an ensemble in every sense of the word. Ariel Wolf as Michael needs to get a bit more experience under his belt – but he’s in good hands. Go see this play. Do yourselves a favor.

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