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Nov 15, 2006

The Internationalist

Ok, so i've never really written a review on my blog
before but here is the first in what might be more
than one blog review.

I saw the Internationalist at the Vineyard. If you
have never seen this play, you should go see it. This
is actually the third time I saw it. (I saw the 13p
production in New York and then I saw it when it went
to CT as well.) i have to say I had a renewed respect
for this play and for Anne Washburn. I really enjoyed
it the last couple of times but usually if you see
something more than once, you can start to see the
holes. This play stands up to scrutiny and more than
that, is just as entertaining and thought provoking
the third time around.

As for the production, the set was outstanding, the
lights kept the magic the play needs. In fact
visually this incarnation is more magical than the
previous ones. it was a different experience seeing
it with a mostly older cast. They were also more
grounded which at times i liked and at times I didn't.
i had the odd sensation of watching Liam Craig play
the parts Travis York had played in a near identical
way although Craig is older and like the other actors,
the dial was turned down. Sometimes I wish Schmoll
had turned the dial up a bit more. Gibson Frazier was
the only actor that made it over on the transfer to
the Vineyard stage. He was excellent then and he is
excellent here too. Zak Orth who takes on the main
character, is likable, fumbling. It took me a while
to warm up to him in this part but his performance was
ultimately satisfying and the notes he hit were right
within the score of the overall show Schmoll created.

The problem with this show, and it is a problem, is
that Heid Schreck is sorely missed. Now, Heidi is a
friend of mine I should probably say. That said, she
brought an energy to this play in the first two
incarnations that could have made this production
transcendent. Annie Parisse, try as she might, is
just not able to fill these shoes. I don't know that
I can even put it into words exactly what Heidi
brought to the part that Annie didn't. I want to say
that Annie is not a character actor and when she put
on a wig to play an old woman it didn't work. But
that's just a small part of it. An Annie is a capable
actress but her storyline fell back a little for me
wheras Heidi brought it forward which is more what i
think the play needs.

That said, if you have not seen this play go see it.
The Vineyard made a good choice when they programmed
Anne's play.

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