Wednesday, April 27, 2011

the cosmonaut's last message to the woman he once loved in the former soviet union

the cosmonaut's last message to the woman he once loved in the former soviet union explored the breakdown in human communication in many different ways.  52 scenes following many characters as they struggle with their inability to communicate - the cosmonaut stranded in space whose communications equipment is broken, a failing marriage exposed when the breakdown of their TV shows they don't have anything to talk about, two people who don't speak each other's language, a person unable to speak after a stroke, an international peace negotiator trying to establish communication between hostile factions.  
The play was inspired by the true story of a cosmonaut who was stranded on Mir for 4 months as the Soviet Union broke up.

 Personally I really liked the play and its complexities and humour.  It was very ironic that as we arrived in the box, two men were sitting there stony faced; I guessed that they had just had an an argument.  As they returned after intermission, one spoke quietly "we really have to communicate better".  I guess the message of the play have resonated with this couple.

Actors played at least two parts, not due to frugality but at the direction of the playwright.  It was perplexing that some of the characters tried to speak in accents (except for the Scottish ones, highly unsuccessful) while others didn't.  Given the poor quality of accents I've heard lately, I'm really moving to the position that actors simply shouldn't bother.  I don't like reading reviews before seeing plays - especially when I already have the tickets - but discovered today that The Globe and Mail liked the play while the The Star most emphatically did not.  The theatre was very sparsely populated, so perhaps most of Toronto took their cue from The Star.  For what it's worth, I would recommend it.  My husband was better able to contain his enthusiasm.

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