Review by Tulis McCall
(13 Dec 2010)
This is another one of those “I have no idea what is going on, but I am sure enjoying the ride” kind of productions.
This play is inspired by a T.S.Eliot’s prose poem, Hysteria. Eliot’s wife was diagnosed with Hysteria and the poem arose out of that patch of their life.
These three terrific actors, Lucinka Eisler (Waiter), Ben Lewis (Man) and Giulia Innocenti (Woman) - also known collectively as Inspector Sands, have created a piece that is centered and crisp. So uncluttered is this piece, so free of extraneous movement, or props that we are free to wander around in its absurdist qualities and wonder the heck out of ourselves.
A waiter with a brilliant case of OCD prepares herself for a day at work by counting her body parts, including her teeth and toes. At work she constructs the table setting for the couple we are about to meet with the precision of a ballet dancer. When the couple arrives, one at a time, she waits on them with a stoic demeanor.
As the couple slip in and out of contact with one another, and with us, they seems to lose substance on a molecular level. Conversations are misunderstood. Fears invade psyches. Possibilities become trails of breadcrumbs that disappear as each crumb hits the ground. They are connected by the most delicate of threads, and it is a toss-up as to who or what will win out. It is a fight to the death to regain their substance.
This production is poised, polished and nearly perfect. Inspector Sands has created a world where we can enter and color outside the lines. It is a wind tunnel of clarity that from an altered reality where ideas explode like mushroom clouds and coat the air with a fine spray of What If? Eau de Cologne.
My favorite fragrance!
And here for your enjoyment:
Hysteria by T. S. Eliot
"As she laughed I was aware of becoming involved in her laughter and being part of it, until her teeth were only accidental stars with a talent for squad-drill. I was drawn in by short gasps, inhaled at each momentary recovery, lost finally in the dark caverns of her throat, bruised by the ripple of unseen muscles. An elderly waiter with trembling hands was hurriedly spreading a pink and white checked cloth over the rusty green iron table, saying: “If the lady and gentleman wish to take their tea in the garden, if the lady and gentleman wish to take their tea in the garden...” I decided that if the shaking of her breasts could be stopped, some of the fragments of the afternoon might be collected, and I concentrated my attention with careful subtlety to this end."