Monday, January 08, 2007

The Germans in Paris

Jonathan Leaf's play, The Germans in Paris, is the off-off-Broadway equivalent of Tom Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia, and while it's far from matching the complexities of a nine-hour opus, there's something nice about a play in which Karl Marx, Heinrich Heine, and Richard Wagner speak so clearly. The issue I find with Leaf's play is that his characters don't seem to behave like their historical equivalents. I'm the last to say that history should stand in the way of a good story, but The Germans in Paris is done in by such bland, generic characters. Marx is a bundle of excitement without purpose and Wagner is played up as a bumblingly proud oaf. As for Heine, an honorable socialist who goes around cuckolding men, and the women who love him. The acting is great, and the language is clear, but why such important figures are relegated to such an inconsequential plot . . . it makes little sense to me.

[Read on]

No comments: