Monday, November 12, 2012

Savage Rose’s Pirandello One-Act Is a “Performance Like None Other” at SLANT Culture Theatre Festival

The Man with the Flower in His Mouth

Written by Luigi Pirandello
Directed by Alec Volz and J. Barrett Cooper

A review by Kate Barry

Entire contents are copyright © 2012 Kate Barry. All rights reserved.

I am always curious about the plays with which Savage Rose Classic Theatre Company has decided to tinker. An absolute dream for any theater fanatic who favors the great works, this theater company makes it a point to take really wel-known plays by the likes of Wilde and Shakespeare and mix them in with Greek tragedies and obscure modern British dramas. The latest installment happens to be The Man with the Flower in His Mouth by Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello. This production is part of The Slant Culture Festival, a collection of pieces united by the shear thrill of experiencing live theater that might be…a little less than normal.

Performed in Walden Theater’s unique and intimate AltSpace, the production is certainly less than usual. As an audience, we aren’t exactly watching a performance but rather experiencing it. I felt more like I was eavesdropping on a conversation between two men in a café rather than an audience member at a play. Furthermore, the AltSpace’s intimacy really added an extra discomfort throughout the production’s prolonged silence. Pauses in dialogue in addition to the tight space between audience and performers created moments both awkward and curiously suspicious. 

Tad Chitwood, a man with a terminal illness, and Gerry Rose, a man who has missed his train, engage in a chance meeting in a late night café. Chitwood treads a line of detachment and lucid with hapless muttering and introspective rambling. As the play’s title character, Chitwood’s stricken man with epithelioma is haunted by his fatal disease as well as the love he no longer shares with his wife. Rose, on the other hand, is placed on stage as a hurried man who is more concerned with day-to-day matters. Where the audience is passively sitting at a distance, Rose is the interactive observer. He is just as curious about the man sitting next to him as is his audience. Chitwood and Rose share a dialogue that is both dark and lingering as they patiently await the events of their life to transpire.

It is safe to say that Savage Rose Classic Theatre’s production certainly fits the bill for the Slant Culture Festival. The festival strives to provide obscure and fascinating plays both old and new while giving an outlet for local theater artists. With an experimental theater space and a lesser-known piece by one of the founders of the Absurdist theater movement, The Man with the Flower in His Mouth is a performance like none other.

The Man with the Flower in His Mouth

November 9-11, 15, 17-18

Savage Rose Classical Theater Company
AltSpace at Walden Theatre
Part of The Slant Culture Theater Festival

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