“…and so on, and so on, and so on…”
There are a lot of powerful lines and valid thought-provoking ideas about the individual, society and life itself within The Eyes of Others. The potential problem is that there may be a limit to how much analyzing an audience is willing to do. How much symbolism is palatable, perhaps even tolerable? Level of tolerance, of course, varies with each individual.
Translation from the Bulgarian, certainly a challenge, flows smoothly with what would seem to be the writer’s intention.
Director Samuel Buggeln follows the writer’s lead as well, though there are a few added “bits” that one might question as being irrelevant and superfluous.
It would appear that the writer should be held accountable for whatever issues the play has as well as its strong points. At any rate, the cast is most assuredly not to blame if audience attention wanders.
In a challenging role Evan Zes succeeds in portraying First Man, though occasionally he doesn’t seem to totally believe the words and actions of his character. Indeed, most of the cast at times seems to be understandably defeated by the lines they are required to say.
Zoë Winters, with the high energy required of the role, portrays the Shopgirl honestly and believably, only occasionally slipping into a “commercial” mode.
In this performance Jackie is played by Patricia Buckley, who does an excellent job of portraying the wife of Second Man, despite the fact that in one scene she is required to convey her emotions while sitting silent and listening to one side of her husband’s lengthy phone call. Fortunately she is given more to work with in a monologue between Scene 5 and 6.
With his very brief appearance as Pizza Delivery Man, Mathew Frazier can, well, add a resume credit.
The surreal set (David L. Arsenault) and lighting (Max Doolittle) are interesting and appropriate to the material. The pre-show music with its unique orchestration and often atonal writing is deliberately repetitious and effective, and the entire production is supported by almost subliminal sound effects (Anna-Lee Craig).
The Eyes of Others is somehow Beckettesque. One of the writers devoted to the Theatre of the Absurd, Beckett created an absurd world in which lonely and often bewildered individuals attempted to communicate, each in their own way, and though almost always failing, they never gave up hope that things might change.
There’s a lot of good, stimulating material here. It is definitely worth seeing. Just be sure to leave at home all your preconceived ideas of what you are about to see.
Photos: David Arsenault
A Bug Company Production
Written by Ivan DImitrov and Translated by Angela Rodel
At the New Ohio Theatre, 154 Christopher Street (between Greenwich and Washington Streets)
Running through September 28, 2012, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.