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A CurtainUp Review
As the unnamed warring factions shifting from victim to victimizer and back in Retzach are obviously Arabs and Israelis, it's clear that both these stagings were prompted by the play's dispiriting parallels to our own misguided and mismanaged war in Iraq. A murder is committed in each of the three acts comprising the short, intermissionless drama. It begins with the interrogation, killing of a teenaged boy by three inexperienced, trigger happy soldiers in generic uniforms who are not above torture. Three years later, the murdered boy's inconsolably bitter father kills a hapless bride and groom. Fast forward another five years when one of two down on their luck workers is mistaken as the killer of the murdered bride by her sister turned prostitute, which leads to his being beaten to death.
As directed by Shauna Kanter and translated by Liat Glick & Tzahi Moskovitz, this production pays tribute to the poetry that enriched the late playwright's work and his beginnings as a cabaret artist. Using the aisles as well as the stage, and adding puppets to the sizeable cast, Kanter has turned the somber burial of the teenaged boy into a riveting dance-theater scene, made even more stunning by Graham Kindred's lighting.
Despite this impressive staging, the poetry rich translation and the commitment of the actors -- especially Tony Naumovski as the anguished father and the cracked worker in the final sequence, and Gil Getz as the flushed soldier in the beginning -- like Brian Dyksta's Clean Alternatives, in the adjoining theater (Review), this play is not some stunning wake-up call to the unaware-- but will be seen by the anti-war choir to whom the message that no unwarranted act of violence serves any purpose except to lead to another violent act and yet another.
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Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by our editor.
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