New York and Connecticut theater reviews and news

New York City Theater

"What remains is the (stillness) of objects"
FRINGE Festival
45 Bleeker Street Theatres

This tale of the vigil at the bedside of a dying woman is no bundle of laughs. It is painfully vivid, though directors Jill A. Samuels and Hillary Spector (who also conceived this workshop production) have turned it into stylized art. Based on Ingmar Bergman’s film “Cries & Whispers,” the story moves through Agnes’s final days, while her sisters Maria and Karin plot to divide the spoils. “Pack the good crystal,” Maria orders Anna, the devoted caretaker/housemaid.

The concept is innovative, intriguing, as large red panels open and close to reveal a series of tableaux. Using movement and language, the five talented performers create a powerful story—highly effective in the opening half, but unaccountably self-indulgent in the second, post-mortem act. Bringing the dead woman back to life (or, rather, having her speak from beyond the grave) adds nothing to the angst and realities already offered so graphically.

-- Irene Backalenick
Aug. 19, 2007

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