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A CurtainUp Review
First produced in 2003 and written and performed by Greenspan, The Myopia is being revived by The Foundry Theater in the Atlantic's Stage 2 space. Not merely voicing, but full-out playing with a wild artistry, giddy pace, and not an ounce of confusion nearly two-dozen characters, this actor/writer is indeed a wonder to behold.
Myopia is an ocular refractive defect, Greek for nearsightedness. It would be no mistake then, that Barclay, our central character who is described as a surrealist-seeming glowing globe, conjures images like those of French Impressionist cinema — perceptibly warped, but not unrecognizable. The first character, the Raconteur, welcomes us with a prologue exploring the refractive property of art. He discusses experience and preservation, perception and action, and the shape-shifting qualities they can employ: a representation, he considers, such as a picture or a recording, is just that; it is not an action or occurrence, but a record, inherently and consequently inaccurate, of what was or might have been. But the theater, despite its immediacy, is also malleable by way of perception, and Greenspan's two-hour journey of the imagination shows us just that.
Barclay, the "illuminated globe," is trying to write a play about his parents, Febus and Koreen. Febus was working on a musical comedy about President Harding as his relationship strains. Greenspan embodies storyteller, historical figures and a twisted (albeit quite funny) family drama, complete with a cameo appearance by Carol Channing.
Without a doubt, what's most captivating about Greenspan is the grace and grandeur of his physicality and gestures, his impeccably detailed descriptions, and the precision of his expression. Seated on a simple armchair on a bare and brightly lit stage, he is thoroughly hypnotic, bouncing between a quick, sardonic humor (especially prominent in the second act) and hearty intellect. He can turn an audience from roaring laughter to thick, loaded silence on a dime. With The Myopia he has created an epic in the audience's mind and constructed something large and lavish with only the most basic of tools that it is easy to be in awe of his abilities.
The story itself may at times lack much to sink your teeth into. But the storytelling and the performance effortlessly makes you forget that, and can sweep you up for quite a ride.
On weekends, The Myopia is presented as a double bill with a newer piece, Gertrude Stein's Plays. It's also performed by Greenspan.