Wednesday, June 5, 2013

3 Kinds of Exile **

(Please click on the title to see the complete review.)
John Guare's strange hodgepodge for the Atlantic Theater Company throws together three pieces loosely connected by the theme of exile. The first piece "Karel" is an extended anecdote about a man with a seemingly incurable rash, who, at the age of 12, had been sent to England with the Kindertransport and had remained there. Martin Moran tells the slight but interesting tale well.

The second piece "Elzbieta Erased" is a reworking of a one-act play Guare wrote for Atlantic's 25x10 series a few years ago about famous Polish actress Elzbieta Czyzewska. The author, playing himself, and charismatic actor Omar Sangare, portraying several characters including the actress, give us the highlights of her life -- a successful career in Poland, following by expulsion after her marriage to David Halberstam and her years in America, repeatedly dogged by bad luck. Her story is fascinating, but the telling is a bit too long.

If only there were an intermission at this point, one could escape "Funiage," a biographical sketch about absurdist novelist and playwright Witold Gombrowicz, who spent much of his adult life in Argentinian exile. Guare has chosen to emulate his subject's style with an absurdist approach incorporating Brechtian touches. It's hard to sit through. Against all odds, David Pittu as Gombrowicz acquits himself honorably. The rest of the ensemble shall remain nameless. Neil Pepe directed. The talent the playwright once exhibited with House of Blue Leaves, Six Degrees of Separation and Lydie Breeze is not apparent here. Running time: 90 minutes, no intermission.

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