(David Cote’s article appeared in Time Our New York 3/17.)
In nearly 20 years of rigorous, distilled play-making that strips away the pretensions of text, design and performance, Richard Maxwell has always made actors disappear. Not behind a smoke screen of character or conflict; people in his worlds are perfectly visible, often facing front and speaking in clear, uninflected tones. It’s acting itself he tries to make vanish, replaced by the pure phenomenon of a body in space. In The Evening (copresented by The Kitchen and P.S. 122) Maxwell pushes this erasure tactic to its logical conclusion: He subsumes an actor in a devastating wasteland of white.
That’s as spoilery as I’ll get, since the night begins in one place and ends in a different (almost Romeo Castellucci–like) one. The first portion of this roughly three-part show has the blond, dead-eyed young Beatrice (Cammisa Buerhaus) sitting at a table, reciting what seem to be journal entries Maxwell wrote during his dying father’s final days. Buerhaus reads in the usual Maxwell-deadpan style. Soon the gangsterish Cosmo (Jim Fletcher) enters with pizza, dressed in the saddest tan-and-purple tracksuit you’ll ever see. Next comes Asi (Brian Mendes), a steroid-addled cage fighter with a busted face.
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