Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Two Jews Walk into a Theatre

Odeon Theatre, Thu 7 Mar.
Image courtesy of Bob Mendelsohn
You’re sitting near a total stranger. As time goes by it becomes weird not to talk so you make the tentative awkward attempt to strike up conversation. It’s trite to begin with – you talk about the time, public transport, the kids. Lots of awkward silences. Glimpses of humour emerge. You slowly begin to understand each other. Trust grows. You share more about who you are and then suddenly there’s an explosive difference of opinion.
More awkward silence. Someone tentatively reopens the conversation…..
The kind of normal scene played out all over any town thousands of times every day. But in the hands of Gideon Obarzanek and Brian Lipson it is immensely entertaining. Working within a loose framework that allows plenty of room for improvisation they share their astonishment about experimental arts, and scoff at a world with “too many options and not enough structure”.
Their Jewish identity is eventually revealed and they end up passionately talking over each other in loud disagreement in a parody of many Jewish conversations – it’s really very funny.
And then the wait is over – it’s show time. Time to watch their sons do their experimental dance which they don’t understand, nor enjoy. Movement replaces words as the means of expressing personality and it seems so free and fluid in comparison. Free of the need to talk, and unencumbered by bitter memories of a war torn past their sons float around the stage and speak with their bodies. Again awkward, ironic, but also somehow quite beautiful.
It’s a poignant contrast and a fitting conclusion to a show that manages to reconcile many seemingly opposite elements about life. L’chaim!

(This review also published on The Clothesline.)

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