Richard Kind in Travesties at Bay Street Theater: Poetry and Politics on the Isle of Yachts

July 6, 2014 2:33 PM

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Leafing through his well-worn script after a recent performance, Richard Kind enumerated the challenges of his role as Henry Carr in Travesties, a play replete with double entendres in every language you can imagine and then some. As fireworks rat-a-tatted in the background on the July 4th weekend, punctuating Kind's grand kvetch about jokes that had to be explained even to him-- like a colloquialism for German that might defy the recognition of any "echt" Berliner-- he could not get over Czech playwright Tom Stoppard's brilliance, and Bay Street Theater's daring to stage this paean to verbal gymnastics and erudition during high beach season. Hello Dolly, it's not, said Richard Kind after the standing ovation from the surviving audience. (Many left at intermission complaining of mental fatigue.) That fact begs an annoying question: To enjoy this play, do you, in fact, have to have read James Joyce's Ulysses, need to know who Tristan Tzara was? Or, what Dada was compared to Surrealism? Or, how T. S. Eliot's Prufrock measured out his life in coffee spoons? Or, care about the exact correlation of the political, the truly revolutionary, to ART?

Opening with a scene in the Zurich Public Library under the word SILENCE, the play's every sound is magnified: the cut of a scissors, the thudding closure of a dusty tome. White stripes fan out from a single point giving the stage a spacious funhouse dimension, just a hint of optical verve to sugges...

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