Thursday, August 21, 2008
Victory at the Dirt Palace
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.