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Stage Raw: T.E.O.R.E.M.A.T.

Stage Raw: T.E.O.R.E.M.A.T.

Photo by Artur Rawicz

Wroclaw, Poland -- Director Grzegorz Jarzyna's staging of Pasolini's 1968 film, Teorema,  for Theatre TR Warszawa performed Tuesday night at the Wroclaw Opera House as part of the Dialog Festival here. It's scheduled to make its U.S. premiere at the Ralph Freud Playhouse at UCLA for two nights only, Nov. 18-19, as part of UCLA Live's International Theatre Festival.

The UCLA fest's two Polish entries (the other being Theatre Zar's Tryptich, slotted for the beginning of December, are both repudiations of our commonly held understanding that the spoken word is the foundation of live theater. Whereas ZAR's theatrical language results in a kind of theatrical oratorio stemming from ancient madrigals from Bulgaria, Georgia and other central/eastern European regions,  T.E.O.R.E.M.A.T. is a sequence of cinematic images (with terse dialogue interspersed) aimed at demonstrating how the pressures of our contemporary global economy on domestic relations have segregated us from faith, tradition and the capacity to love. It's the story of a wealthy manufacturer whose family is destroyed by carnal attractions to an enigmatic visitor. The family members' primal attraction to the stranger is compensation for the hollowness of their own existence. One of the evenings biggest laughs came when a character asked the maid if she knew how to speak -- the laughter triggered by the awareness that the production to that point had been mostly a sequence of visual tableaux -- stunning for both their composition and their economy of gesture -- accompanied by a score and sound effects. Both Polish productions coming to L.A. reach back to the Gospels as they try to comprehend who and what we've become. More on this festival tomorrow.

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