Saturday, February 13, 2010

Dog and Wolf

From the start, Catherine Filloux's Dog and Wolf, directed by Jean Randich, sets up unconvincing situations and characters. Why would a political refugee be so unwilling to make her case? Why would the lawyer put up with her? And why does he keep circling back and forth in his wheelchair like, well, an actor carrying out awkward blocking? The first two questions are eventually answered, but not satisfactorily. The third question reflects Randich's generally annoying staging. For example, the actress playing the political refugee keeps making believe that she's chain-smoking, throwing one long untouched cigarette to the ground and squishing it with her heel and then faux-lighting another. (Yes, there was probably a reason the actors couldn't smoke, but the untouched cigarettes were distracting--it's a small theatre!) Similarly, a character mentions that wine is about to be served from a jerry can, but then pours it from some sort of plastic bottle (jerry cans are steel). Details matter! After the "dog and wolf" phrase is explained (at dusk you can't tell one from the other), the show talks a lot about sheep. I don't know why. Dog and Wolf clearly aims to be a significant statement about politics and repression, but the stories of abuse felt manipulative and the depiction of one of the Bosnian women came across as condescending ("oh, look at the entertaining ethnic person who will help the white guy find his emotions").

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