Pathos, chaos and humor in play about how terrorist plot leads to global violence
Playwright Rajiv Joseph brings us into a dark world of incomprehension and ineptness in his play about three poor young Serbian rebels looking for a possible job to find out that they have been called upon to take part in the assassinate of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sophie which eventually started World War I.
Director Giovanna Sardelli skillfully moves her fine actors into unbending positions into areas they really don’t know what they are getting into. Stephen Stocking, Jeremy Kahn and Adam Shonkwiler brilliantly play the three naive confused young men that have been told they only have a few months to live because they have Tuberculoses with nothing to lose. They are brought to the home of Dragutin “Apis” Dimtrijevic ( a superb Scott Coopwood) and his tempermental housekeeper and cook Sladjana, ( a delightful Luisa Sermol) be given food and the basic training with some idea of what is going on. They are at first appalled at the idea but the offering of “sandwiches”, pudding and a train ride to their destination gets them on a fast track and the plot goes forward. Oh and by the way Joseph brings this all together with some humorous dialogue.
All sounds deeply odd and confounding – it is – but interesting and well done. When you stop to think about it you can almost parallel how some people can be drawn into terroristic plots in our time with rabble-rousing, inflammatory misinformation and propaganda..
Tim Mackabee’s train compartment set is fine work as is Dawn Chiang’s lighting.
Archduke will take us to a time most of us have not thought about or even remember – but it will sure make you think.
Archduke closes this TheatreWorks 49th season with the Northern California premier of this production.
Where: Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts
500 Castro Street. Mountain View
Through: June 30
Running time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Reservations and information: (650) 463-1960
or visit www.theaterworks.org
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