Tuesday, January 29, 2008
At times reminiscent of the best in both Cabaret and Maus, Wakka Wakka's puppet-driven drama, Fabrik, is no less heartbreaking on its miniature scale. The play begins innocently enough, with a lighthearted song from the proud Jewish businessman Moritz Rabinowitz (David Arkema), and an introduction to some of his forty rules for success, and slowly grows darker. The first glimpse of something amiss is when socialite Mrs. Hansen (Gwendolyn Warnock, who plays all the female parts) deliberately snubs him -- in his own suit-making shop -- choosing instead to talk with Moritz's soft-spoken, Beaker-like assistant, Mr. Askeland (Kirjan Waage, who also created the puppets and masks). As things get darker, the troupe grows more creative in their displays, which in turn only heightens the effect of that horror. Only one play -- Cabaret -- has ever made me sob in a theater; Fabrik now has the powerful distinction of being the second.