August 10th, 2003

The Dresser

Several weeks ago, I went to the Cameri theater with kritzit, to watch their production of Ronald Harwood's The Dresser. It depicts an aging Shakespearean actor in a second-rate theatrical troupe touring the English countryside during World War II, and his dresser. The actor's health is failing, and he seems to be going a bit soft in the head, exhibiting growing confusion about both real life and his art. The play happens backstage, with bits and pieces of King Lear (the troupe's current production) cleverly worked into it.

Oded Teomi played the actor, and Yitzhak Hizkiyah played the dresser. Both were simply superb. Teomi's authority and demeanor were just fabulous, and Hizkiyah created a credible, touching character.

The play reminded me of the power of the theater, and why I love it so much. The magnetism generated by Teomi and Hizkiyah is simply not available in other media, I feel.

It's still running, and it's highly recommended. Those who know Shakespeare's works (not just Lear) would undoubtedly take pleasure in the tasteful bits of intertextuality, but I'm told the play's quite enjoyable for those less acquainted with the bard's works, too.
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