Thursday, September 14, 2006

Birth and After Birth: 09/14/2006

Two things are very clear to me tonight after seeing act one of Tina Howe’s Birth and After Birth at the Atlantic Theater Company. First, is Howe’s fascination with Eugène Ionesco. When Atlantic produced two new translations of The Lesson and The Bald Soprano by Tina Howe, it seemed like an odd match. But Birth and After Birth is a complete homage to the Theatre of the Absurd and Ionesco. The problem with the Absurdist plays of the 50’s is that after fifteen or twenty minutes their entire premise becomes obvious, yet they continue to meander on for another hour. Which brings me to the second thing that became clear tonight: the reason Birth and After Birth is only now receiving it’s NYC premiere. The play is nothing more than a “contemporary” absurdist play. It presents the absurdity of parenthood – for two hours. To make matters worse, the production it served well by neither it’s director, nor it’s two leads. Only Jordan Gelber’s portrayal of their four-year-old son gives the show an ounce of worthiness.

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