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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

"The Playboy of the Western World" @ Artists Rep.

I'm afraid to confess this because I think it makes me sound not-so-smart, but "The Playboy of the Western World" is pretty hard to follow. Of course, that really shouldn't come as much of a surprise, given that it was written in 1907, in a strange Irish-what's the word--dialect? Artists Rep seems well-aware of the play's difficulty, providing links to the script and other resources on their website, and yet, I think director Damaso Rodriguez sums up the complexity best with this passage from his Director's Note:  "On the page, Synge's language seems impossibly dense, each line requiring a Google search to make sense of what's being said."

In this light, perhaps I should feel that I am in good company in being frequently lost in terms of the plot.  Despite this, there is still praise to be given, particularly to Michael Mendelson, who once again proves himself ready for Herculean acting tasks, the lyricism of the dialogue can not be denied. If you feel up to it, you might do better than I did, and even if not, watching some of Portland's finest actors take on a challenge like this is something to see.

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