Gender Politics

Two theaters demonstrate why men and women need each other.

When Bracha moved to the United States, she and her husband had two children: a son, Manny, who died in 1968, and a daughter, Rifka. Rifka is still alive, but she and Bracha are estranged. Still, Rifka is present in the room, played by Irene Adjan, who spends most of her time at a piano in the corner of the theater. Occasionally Bracha has imaginary conversations with her daughter, for which Adjan rises from the piano and walks to the stage. Adjan is another oft-transcendent actress, but she, like Gardner, is weightless here. There is no real feeling in these conversations, no sense that she has entered her little role and given it independent life. Adjan sounds like there's someplace that she'd rather be. Both she and Gardner spend the show backing away from their roles and their audience.

Oser (left) and Gardner:  Verve is in short supply.
Oser (left) and Gardner: Verve is in short supply.

Details

The Odd Couple, written by Neil Simon. Directed by Jim Brochu. Through June 7 at Broward Stage Door Theatre, 8036 W. Sample Rd., Coral Springs. Visit stagedoortheatre.com, or call 954-344-7765.

The Interview, written by Faye Sholiton. Directed by Genie Croft. Through May 17 at the Women's Theatre Project, 505 NW First Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Visit womenstheatreproject.com, or call 866-811-4111.

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Maybe it's because I'm a man, but I want to be attacked by a play. I want actors to go for my jugular, to rumble with me in the aisles. The Interview, which is ultimately a play about the way history sticks around and impacts us through generations, never works up the verve to impact us even in the moment of performance. I can't say what would save it at this point, but a P.A. system probably wouldn't hurt.

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