*A PINK CHAIR (In Place of a Fake Antique),* 5/29/18
I saw *A PINK CHAIR (In Place of a Fake Antique)* at the Wooster Group on 5/29/18. I talked with my brother Howard a few days before and told him I was seeing this. He asked what it was, and I said, "Honestly, I have no idea."
Here's the blurb from the Wooster website:
"In A PINK CHAIR (In Place of a Fake Antique), The Wooster Group takes on one of the greatest figures in 20th century avant-garde theater: the iconic Polish stage director Tadeusz Kantor (1915-1990). Joining the Group as our guide and dramaturge is Kantor’s only daughter, Dorota Krakowska. Together, we will explore Kantor’s penultimate production, I Shall Never Return, and through it, his lifelong obsession with the myth of the return of Odysseus."
Does that make it any clearer?
There were two celebrities in the audience, always a treat, especially in a small theater. Willem Dafoe isn't a founding member of the Woosters, but he was an early member. He was in the first show I saw of theirs, back in 2003. His seat was in the middle of the row in front of me, and of course everyone in that row had to stand to let him in. The guy next to him said, "I guess you're in the 'Reserved' seat next to me?" and Dafoe said, "Yes, I'm very reserved." How cute is that. Mandy Patinkin was also in the audience, more about him later.
The show was your typical Wooster mix of live audio, pre-recorded audio, and a mix of the two - - and live physical action, physical action on video, and a Wooster specialty, live performers mirroring the physical action of the video performers.
Kate Valk played the whore, and it was a treat to see her in such a carnal role. She's an extraordinary actor, so vital and thoughtful. Suzzy Roche gave a lovely performance, she sat facing forward for most of the show with a sad and sour expression on her face. Eventually she sang a little song, and what a joy to hear her sing. Scott Shepherd had a tiny part, it was strange to see such a great actor in such a tiny part.
A Wooster performance is always an occasion. They give you drama without meaning, expression without context, intention without reaction. What they do is unlike anyone else, but having now seen them six or seven times, I realize that their schtick is kind of the same in each show. Which makes it a little less original.
I'll say this: the show was 70 minutes long. No complaints there. And the rest of the audience seemed to enjoy the show more than I did, including Mandy Patinkin, who was one of a handful of people trying to conjure up a standing ovation. Bless his heart.
The performance ended with the whole cast (I think there were twelve members) singing "Bound For the Promised Land." What a song! Here's the primarily blond Brigham Young chorus singing it, featuring a strapping young baritone who might have been winner of the Paul Dano Look-Alike Contest: