March 4th, 2010

La Loge

Comedy Between the Lines

For a Sunday matinee treat, we went to see The Flying Karamazov Brothers in their new show, 4 Play.  Of course I loved it.  What's not to love about a show that includes juggling, ballet (of a kind), skit comedy (think Monty Python meets Jon Stewart), music, and Apalachian-Polish clog dancing?  I grinned, I laughed, I even thought some thoughts about circuses, interstitiality, and intention, which I wrote up and posted on the IAF Website.  Where you can comment on them if you like.

Please do.

In other news, we attended a performance of Tony Kushner's The Illusionist at The Chapin School on Saturday.  As those who have been reading my reviews may remember, this is the school I attended for 12 years back in the Dark Ages of mid-century.  The daughters of my two best friends graduated from there two years ago, and a younger daughter is still there--a Junior, and a shining light in the Drama Club (as was her sister, who I saw as Theseus/Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream three years ago, when she was a Senior).  In Twelfth Night last semester, she was Viola. In The Illusionist, she played Isabella, the passionate young woman who gives up her fortune to run away with her passionate, but mercenary lover.

And a very dignified and self-possessed Isabella she was, too.  Perhaps a little more dignified and self-possessed than the text suggested, but it's hard to throw your bonnet over the windmill when you're playing a romantic part at an all girls school.  My heart went out to the poor girl who was playing the multiply-named hero of the piece, required to make love to every female in sight.  In fact, my heart went out to all of them.  The Illusionist is a cynical, world-weary kind of play, a middle-aged man's jaundiced take on youth and romance and the relations between the generations.  In the hands of a troupe of 15 to 17 year old girls, it careens wildly among the poignant, the ironic, and the embarrassing.  Not because of the acting, I hasten to say.  If they did not always speak their lines with much variation of tone, they always spoke them accurately, clearly, and with a conscious understanding of the text.  I wouldn't want anybody that age to come to grips with the subtext.  It would just be too sad.