Performing Arts: Theater
June 25, 2021
If you don't feel yet ready to jam into a Broadway theater for a night of entertainment by say, the great Bruce Springsteen, then perhaps you might consider relaxing in a chair and listening to The Designated Mourner. An addictive series, written and performed by Wallace Shawn, it captivates listeners with a tale of dystopian valor.  Audiences are sucked into the type of intimate storytelling generally heard at bedtime -- a time when children anticipate being transported to another land.

The tale revolves around a pompous, intellectual poet, Howard (Larry Pine) his cringely devoted daughter, Judy (Deborah Eisenberg), her husband, Jack (Shawn) and some others. Dominating almost every situation or conversation, Howard (Larry Pine) positions himself in the catbird seat, looking down on all his doting, devoted disciples.

Suspicious of this demi-god, Jack quietly begins to question the intimacy of the father-daughter relationship and his relationship to them. The corrosive trio mirrors a similarly degraded and discredited government bloated with accusations about loyalty, truth, honor and horror.

Despite the fact that  Shawn does not possess the sonorous tones of a Richard Burton, there's something utterly mesmerizing about his cadences and child-like inflections. Each word selected stands proudly next to its well-chileseld companion. Altogether, the text stretches into a glittering web of injustices and concealed emotions tipped in tentacles of dark humor.

Trust me when I say this spoken tale will transport you to the other side of imagination.

Originally a critically -acclaimed theater production, The Designated Mourner is directed by Andre Gregory with sound design by Bruce Odland. The six part adaptation is presented by Gideon Media on June 26.
EYE ON THE ARTS,NY -- Celia Ipiotis

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