Thursday, May 7, 2009

Women's Theatre Project: The Interview (3 reviews)

The Women's Theatre Project opened the southeastern premiere production of Faye Sholiton's The Interview on April 23rd, at Fort Lauderdale's Sixth Star Studios.

Genie Croft directs a cast that includes Patti Gardner, Harriet Oser, Morgan Wade, and Irene Adjan.

Brandon K. Thorp reviewed for the Broward/Palm Beach New Times:
...the often-transcendent Patti Gardner plays Ann Meshenberg, a volunteer with the Western Reserve Oral History Project who is out to collect the testimonies of a heretofore-uninterviewed Holocaust survivor.... Gardner's character is supposed to be nervous about her task — this is her first interview — but she's also supposed to have a steely streak that her subject, Bracha, notices and admires. Gardner evinces this not at all.
Harriet Oser, who plays Bracha, is more impressive... Oser uses her hands in a marvelously affecting way. She can communicate pain with a single up-turned palm, like opera legend Maria Callas.
(Irene) Adjan is another oft-transcendent actress, but she, like Gardner, is weightless here.
The Interview, which is ultimately a play about the way history sticks around and impacts us through generations, never works up the verve to impact us even in the moment of performance.

Bill Hirschman reviewed for the Sun-Sentinel:
Genie Croft's production is a moving and illuminating lesson because of the compelling performances of Harriet Oser as Bracha Weissman, a survivor living in Ohio, and Patti Gardner as Ann Meshenberg, a survivor's daughter who is videotaping memories for a history project.
Oser, in particular, gives a calibrated, bravura performance, awash in rue-filled humor, imperious toughness, barely-masked anger and constant pain. Gardner doesn't have as showy a role until the end, which means her success creating a believable, complex character is just as tough an assignment.
Croft and company have managed to overcome the slightly schematic feel to Sholiton's earnest script that features the expected stripping away of secrets. The ideas here are not new, but they are skillfully woven into one vibrant detailed tapestry.
Christine Dolen reviews for the Miami Herald:
...missed opportunities flow from Sholiton's script, others from director Genie Croft's staging of it. The acting -- by Harriet Oser as a Holocaust survivor, Irene Adjan as her estranged daughter and Patti Gardner as a historian who has come to get the survivor's memories on video -- is strong and confident. But even these proven talents struggle to transcend the weaknesses of The Interview.
The Interview plays at The Women's Theatre Project through May 17, 2009.

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