Thursday, August 21, 2008

Victory at the Dirt Palace

Photo/Abigail Feldman

An excellently acted production that somehow managed to go right over my head. Inspired in parts by King Lear and today's oversaturated say-nothing do-everything media, Adriano Shaplin's Victory at the Dirt Palace focuses on the fractious relationship between bombastic James Mann (Paul Schnabel) and his ice-cold daughter, K (Stephanie Viola). What does it say that a terrorist attack triggers a war that lasts all of four minutes, and whose panic is underwhelmed by the twice-removed resolve of rivaling news anchors? How should we read into K's father issues when it turns out that despite being a successful woman, she requires being dominated by her sycophantic assisstant, Spence (Shaplin)? Truth be told, these are questions I'm too tired to try and answer: the play goes by so quickly, with such striking performances and reversals--James's jealous, bastard of an assistant, Andrew (Drew Friedman), takes control, that it's hard to put a button on it, but I'd certainly like to revisit the Riot Group.

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