Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Killer

Last night I saw Ionesco's The Killer starring Michael Shannon at Theater for a New Audience in Brooklyn.

This existential play centers on Berenger who discovers a beautiful radiant city, designed by a municipal architect. There he experiences a bittersweet joy. He is nostalgic for pure joy, but the present feeling is plagued by doubts as to the certainty of anything.

At the end of the first act it is revealed that the city is traumatized by a killer who mesmerizes people with a photo and then pushes them in a lagoon to drown. Berenger is devastated by this and seeks to find the killer and bring him to the authorities.

The play is very verbal, and the dialogue and Berenger's monologues are brilliant. It seems like a play I would enjoy reading.

The middle act takes place in his apartment with a friend, Edward, whose briefcase contains all the physical elements of the killer's murders. This scene is funny and dynamic. Also creepy. The final act is more chaotic, with a disturbing and amusing fascist politician (Ma Piper), aggressive police, and finally a drawn out confrontation with the killer. This should have been the most tense and important scene, but I felt it was too long and unfortunately I got restless towards the end.

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