Saturday, April 30, 2011

Quick Hit Review: Autumn Sonata -- Yale


Autumn Sonata
Yale Rep
By Ingmar Bergman
Directed by Robert Woodruff
Based on a literal translation by Wendy Weckwerth
Summary:
Eva (Rebecca Henderson) invites her estranged mother, Charlotte (Candy Buckley) to visit after Charlotte's longtime friend dies. She agrees and visits Eva and her pastor husband, Viktor (Olek Krupa), for the first time in seven years. She's surprised to find that Eva has been harbering hated for the mother who abandoned her family to pursue her career as a classical pianist. Eva also has another surprise:  her sister, Helena (Merritt Janson), who is handicapped by illness, and whom Charlotte had placed in a home, also lives at the parsonage. A clash of perceptions and needs brings on a cacophony of emotions
Highlights:
The performances are good. Some projections of the characters and action behind the scenes taking place (Peter Nigrini, design) nicely evoke imagery of the film on which this play is based.

Lowlights:
This is a real downer. Imagine saying or hearing everything that ever irritated you about your mother and having someone list it in detail for you (and on Thursday at 4:00 you....). The long mauldlin monolgues are a bit much to keep evoke sympathy or keep our attention. The attempt to mesh film and stage doesn't really work (a picture's worth a thousand words?). The gray film Viktor tells us he felt had settled on his existance is only too strongly felt in the two-hour-and-10-minute production without intermission. You might even think you can see it in the gray scrim/screen on which the action taking place upstage (Riccardo Hernandez, set design) is framed.

More information:
Autumn Sonata runs through May 8 at Yale Rep. Tickets range from $10 to $85 and are available online at www.yalerep.org, by phone at 203-432-1234, and in person at the Yale Rep Box Office, 1120 Chapel Street, at York Street).  Student, senior, and group rates are also available.

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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