URIEL ACOSTA: I WANT THAT MAN
March 27, 2014
Here’s the thing about Target Margin’s production of Uriel Acosta:I Want That Man – it’s overwhelming. Which makes it nearly impossible for me to write about it in any coherent sense, especially as I’m not sure I fully grasped everything that was going on with the show. Target Margin has been exploring Yiddish Theater for the past two seasons. Apparently, at the height of Yiddish Theater, the role of Uriel Acosta was iconic for actors in the same way that Hamlet or Lear still are.
Performers Don Castro, James Tigger! Ferguson, Mary Rasmussen, and J.H. Smith III fiercely commit to their antics, switching between drama and over-the-top antics, between reciting verse in Yiddish and quoting autobiographies, and singing, running, and playing with toy theatres amidst projections, loud music, and fog.
In an effort to explain the evening’s event, I offer the following analogy: in 1980, Jim Abrahams and the Zucker brothers gave us Airplane!, a goofy, silly, and iconic movie that basically threw 1,000 jokes (sight gags, puns, sound effects, etc.), for an average of 11 jokes per minute, at the audience in the firm belief that some of them would land and be funny. It worked really well despite conventional wisdom and common sense.
Uriel Acosta is just like that only using a classic piece of Yiddish Theater as its center as opposed to 1970’s disaster movies.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Kelly Johnston