Saturday, February 11, 2012


rorrim weiv reeuq eht urht thru the queer view mirror
It seems, in fact, as though the
second half of a man's life is
made up of nothing, but the
habits he has accumulated
during the first half.
Fyodor Dostoevsky

The current stage adaptation of Dostoevsky’s novella, The Double, running at the Factory Studio Theatre, perhaps unconsciously takes the original authors own concise thoughts on the two parts of a single lifetime and capitalizes brilliantly by producing an explosive and intriguing second act. Unfortunately, a lengthy first act that spends too much time telling, and not enough time showing, makes it difficult to make one’s way happily to the unexpected burst of comic, dramatic, and physical genius that fills the stage after the intermission. But it is well worth the wait.

There may have been two ways to go in this very impressive yet unbalanced production. Either a tighter, shorter first act with more dramaturgical flair regarding the beleaguered civil servant who meets his doppelganger, or cut the first act and turn the play into a sixty minute uninterrupted tour de force. The production is blessed with the cast's staggering ability to play multiple roles, and the ongoing original jazz accompaniment by narrator/musician Arif Mirabdolbaghi gives the show a beautiful and intense rhythm that never falters from start to finish.
As the dualized and distressed central character, writer/performer Adam Paolozza delivers a passable but lackluster first act performance, upstaged constantly by the brilliant physical and vocal antics of Viktor Lukawski’s multiple characterizations. Even during a lengthy, over-narrated first act Lukawski is able to inject impressive moments of sharp comic and dramatic play that lay the foundation for act two. Hampered by opening scenes that need judicious trimming, Paolozza rises like a phoenix from the ashes and catches up to his co-stars formidable talents early into the second half when the doppelganger takes full effect and the real action begins.
TheatreRun’s artistic ensemble clearly has the ability to create simply staged, impeccably executed pieces of thought provoking physical and psychological theatre, and the three bearded beauties that take the stage in The Double ultimately bring their audiences a delightful and provocative take on what could be considered Dostoevsky’s very queer view of one man’s tortured existence. There is titillation, gorgeous original music by Mirabdolbaghi, exhilarating performances, and a startling, downright eerie denouement. All it needs is some tightening and the The Double would become a perfect adaptation of an original work. And just a bit more erotic play wouldn't hurt.
running until February 19th

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