Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Crime and Punishment

I really liked Intiman's concept. This play was 90 minutes, no intermission. Three actors play the major characters. The set, while amazing, was sparse: a poor room, with three doors, three chairs, and rock formations off the side of the stage. The program said that the Director envisioned the show as film noir. Certainly the moral ambiguity is there, and even the colors were fairly desaturated from the show, except for the female characters' costumes. There one sees splashes of bright red: eroticism, and death/blood.

I haven't read the book. As much as I do read I realized I've never read any of the Russian biggies'...well biggies. The full novels, like Brothers Karamazov, Anna Karenina...etc. I've read mainly the short stories and plays. So I can't really address what this adaptation did with the source material.

But what was there, was powerful. Poor Galen Osier, Raskolnikov, who really goes through the wringer with the Inspector and with his own conscience. He leaves the stage once, for mere seconds, in the whole ninety minutes. He's so human: in love with the prostitute, despises the pawnbroker, fears the inspector. He only has his theory to fall back on. But here's the rub: the very fact that he's struggling negates his theory.

Some things were a little opaque: what do the references to Lazarus really mean? Redemption, or just making it through to the other side? Why did the set open up at the end? Not really sure. But certainly this is not the kind of show to hit the nail directly on the head.

Fascinating work, and just different enough to be pretty exciting. If you're in the Seattle area, try to take a look.

*Props to Intiman for using a local director and cast.

Seattle Times

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