By Bob Shuman
Although audiences are aware of Strindberg’s Easter, many do not know of his rarely performed 1911 Christmas lyrical fantasy, The Black Glove, now in production from Strindberg Rep at the Gene Frankel Theatre, only through December 16. A children’s holiday show by the stern Swedish master? Yes, even with an elf and Christmas angel (butter cookies are also served at the door by director, Robert Greer). Apparently, this fifth chamber play missed opportunities to be widely anthologized (the current verse translation is by Charlotte Hanes Harvey) because it opened after Strindberg’s Intimate Theater had closed. What this means is that there is a new, classic option for the holidays—an old-fashioned yule tale, cast today with women—a fact that may surprise, in performance), and led by the charming actress Pilar Garcia. She’s so good, some will wonder why the art of mime is not, currently, taken more seriously, much less seen more. Her work is specific, professional, and good-natured (she might even be compared to a Robin Williams): after seeing her, you can just start believing in the magic of Christmas again, and children will be enchanted.
Jo Vetter as Curator, Diane Perell as CaretakerPhoto by Kamoier Williams.
All seven actors are strong, in fact, and include Jo Vetter, as a drowsy old professor; Diane Perell, as the caretaker of an apartment building that is falling apart; and the maids, Crystal Edn and Amy Fulgham, perennially in trouble with their mistress, Amber Crawford. Mary Tierney is the Christmas angel, wearing a Santa Lucia crown (costumes are by Janet Mervin; lighting design is by Gilbert “Lucky” Pearto; production designer is Donna Miskend; sound design is by Giovanni Villari, and stage manager is Charles Casano). Those who are studying Strindberg and drama may be reminded of A Dream Play and even a tad of Miss Julie—but really this is A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the dark half of the year, with Ms. Garcia as a sprightly Puck.
Visit August Strindberg Rep: http://www.strindbergrep.com/
Visit Gene Frankel Theatre: http://www.genefrankeltheatre.com/
Press: Jonathan Slaff
© 2017 by Bob Shuman. All rights reserved.