It’s a tiny little stage on the first floor of a very cosy pub predominantly catering to a friendly gay clientele called The Stag. It’s got 50 seats. And it presents us with a brilliant rendition of a very peculiar version of Arthur Schnitzler’s Der Reigen. To my surprise it wasn’t the massive (in more than one meaning) display of naked flesh that kept my interest (I’m a dirty shallow woman, for which I apologise regularly, but which I don’t regret) but the quality of the actors who portrayed an impressive variety of characters – La Ronde of seduction, love, manipulation and dependency.
Most fascinating to watch – that even though the gender lines sometimes blurred a little, to me (I am Viennese, I have to and do love Schnitzler) it was rather easy to follow the characterisation of The Sweet Girl, or The Diva, or The Housewife without any problems. Jack Heifner, who (re-)wrote the play as an adaption of La Ronde, did an amazingly brilliant job! Every actor played multiple parts on this tiny stage, helped only by a few ashlars covered in black felt. They were arranged into beds, desks, garden benches, even walls and it needed no explanations – the acting was that good.
This play taught me one essential thing (other than “god, I love great theatre” and “it’s amazing where you actually find great theatre these days” and “damn, they are brilliant” 😉 ): Archetypes are gender-free as are certain behavioral quirks and characterisations. And that alone was worth the hassle of actually finding the tiny pub. That also was the only drawback – that and that the actors didn’t get a mention on the leaflets handed out in the pub. They would have deserved it!
Other than that: a brilliant evening with an all male cast and an almost all male audience who made us three girls feel welcome and at home immediately. Certainly an address to remember…