Thursday, October 16, 2008

Irena's Vow

photo: Carol Rosegg

At one point in this 90-minute one-act, the always captivating Tovah Feldshuh breaks the fourth wall (while in character as heroic Irena Gut Opdike) to remind us that we will soon have no chance for face to face contact with Holocaust survivors and to drive home the importance of carrying their stories with us. While that's inarguably true, I dare ask: must this story be presented with such a heavy hand and written so that nearly every single dramatic moment is over explained? Just because this is theatre that is good for humanity doesn't mean it's good theatre by default: despite Feldshuh's superb performance as a Polish Catholic housekeeper who courageously sheltered a dozen Jews right under the nose of the Nazi Kommandant who employed her, the play is maddeningly simplistic and keeps faltering with narration that tells us what we already know. That said, I haven't heard so much weeping during the final scenes of a sold-out play since the Brian Dennehy Death of a Salesman.

No comments: