Saturday, December 20, 2008

David's Redhaired Death

Bang & Clatter’s ‘DAVID’S REDHAIRED DEATH’ leaves little after-effect

Every once in a while I leave a theatre and could care less about a show I’ve just seen. Unfortunately, that was my reaction as I wandered around the parking garage searching for my car, after seeing Bang & Clatter’s newest Cleveland theatre’s DAVID’S REDHAIRED DEATH.’

The lack of emotional or cerebral involvement wasn’t totally the fault of director Sean McConaha or the acting company. It was mainly the vehicle itself. Author Sherry Kramer, just doesn’t create characters who I cared about, who I could empathize with, or had lives or issues that made me want to care.

That opinion of Kramer’s writing is not shared by other critics. In its Washington, DC production reviewers stated, “All the scenes are interspersed foreshadowing of things to come, so there is a coiled, spiraled tension instead of the suspense of an ordinary linear plot and, ‘DAVID'S REDHAIRED DEATH’ is a stirring, annoying and difficult piece of work.”

Being married to a redhead, yes, a real redhead, I was expecting to get some insights into the personality of these unusual creatures. It was sure alluded to enough. Nope, nothing here turned me onto any real secrets of redheads, so I guess I’ll just have to continue to search for the key to my wife’s unique personality.

The tale is of a man named David's sudden and violent suicide. David, who we never meet, is etched for us by his sister Jean and her lover Marilyn’s words. And though David is supposed to be the center of the action, it is really the tale two people dealing with death and their struggle to form new relationships in the aftermath of a tragedy, that is in the forefront.
Told in a unique mixture of nonlinear monologues, and abstract dialogue, we are supposed to see how the two deal with the death from different perspectives. Supposed is the key word here, for I couldn’t get involved enough to perceive those reactions.

Faye Hargate’s Jean is well etched. She is a good actress who develops a clear character. On the other hand, Katelyn Cornelius plays at being seductive and coltish. I never believed she was Marilyn. She stayed on the surface most of the time, never digging into and living Marilyn. The interaction between them was not really interaction, as I felt little real connection between the actors. Even the kissing scenes lacked linkage.

Capsule judgment: Bang and Clatter’s ‘DAVID’S REDHAIRED DEATH’ just didn’t move or enlighten me. It didn’t pull me in. I like plays that have a clarity of message and are linear in development rather than truncated. On the other hand, that may be your thing. (For those who are smoke sensitive: Be aware that there is great deal of smoking onstage which drifts into the seating area.