THEATRE PICK OF THE WEEK: LA WEEKLY
August 15-21, 1997
at the Pacific Resident Theatre
Set on a French estate circa 1912, prolific French dramatist Jean Anouilh’s rarely produced gem focuses on a wealth family brought to crises by the newly wrought passion of its most hapless member. Heretofore precluded from love’s pleasures by her physical deformity, Aunt Ardele, middle-aged and hunchbacked, has developed a romance with an honest man with a similar disability. Their love is a dramatic event deliverated upon rather than witnessed; the audience never sees these two together or even lays eyes upon Ardele who remains forcibly sequestered in her room while her hypocritical siblings debate her fate. A master or irony and a haded romantic, Anouihl employs plot to wittily pontificate on the sanctimouiousness of a society that pillories true emotion while celebrating its pretense. Directed by Alec Doyle, a capable ensemble delivers adept, though not yet exemplary performances (as of opening night). The exception is Kathleen Garrett; as Ardele’s vain, adulterous and self-obsessed sister, she expertly distills from her rone (one of two she plays) the essence of its sublte but savage humor.