Friday, August 01, 2008


Photo/Brian McDermott

Of all the shows at Soho Think Tank's Ice Factory, Heistman is perhaps the only one that shouldn't be open for review: not because it's bad, but because it's still very much in the midst of percolating. Matthew Maher's script is fantastically daring: a philosophical assessment of Personal Happiness and The Fear, and Steven Ratazzi's portrayal of Heistman--this manifesto-spouting bank robber, a hostage to his own heart and insecurities--is top-notch, calling to mind Wallace Shawn. But Gabriella Barnstone's direction, created and performed by el gato teatro, takes the work in a different direction, with four scantily clad actors dancing on stage. Or should I say, distracting, for there's nothing interpretative about their movement, and the vivid physicality prevents us from focusing on Maher's syllogisms, which read as a smartly punctuated David Foster Wallace essay, full of meandering side points and examples. The manifesto is a tough sell, and I can't fault the company for wanting to experiment with the text, but the play has been stolen from the Heistman, and it may take a one-man show to get it back.

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