Sunday, March 08, 2009



(re:) Directions Theatre Company's extended Figar-anza with music is an exercise in extremes and an interesting concept. Unfortunately, half is also an ordeal. In German-language playwright Ödön von Horváth's rather dark sequel to The Marriage of Figaro, Figaro Gets a Divorce, a time-transposed Count and Countess, the steward Figaro, and his wife Susanna have fled a 20th century Communist revolution into an unnamed neighboring country. While the fallen Count enters a downward spiral of gambling and depression, Figaro returns to barbering in a small town. But marital issues and conflicting ideals push the barber and Susanna apart, and she ends up alone, waitressing in a cafe. Exploring what happens to the fallen nobility and examining how the various servant characters at home and abroad might retain or transfer their loyalties is an interesting idea. But either von Horváth's play is very bad, or it has been adapted very badly.

Fortunately, at off-off-Broadway prices, you can get your money's worth just from the first half, a clever, cheery, mostly well-played, compressed telling of Beaumarchais' original late 18th century play, adorned with musical themes from Mozart's famous opera. It's a small tour de force of distilled, manic storytelling, expertly directed and nicely played. Gillian Wiggin's Susanna is especially delightful; in this telling she bears the greatest dramatic weight, along with her share of the comic, and does it wonderfully well. She alone makes the dreadful second half faintly bearable.

Read the full review.

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