Thu Oct 9 2008
Time Out Ratings<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5
Blessed Unrest (a young, experimental troupe) traveled to Kosovo (a young, experimental country) to perform at Teatri Oda two years ago. Now the Oda has returned the favor with Doruntine, a play cowritten, codirected and coperformed by members of both companies. The story, an adaptation of an Albanian legend as retold in a 1980 novel by Ismail Kadare, is of a young bride who crosses unspecified mythical distances to be with her husband. Suddenly, she is summoned back by the fondest of her nine brothers, with whom she shares a perhaps too-cozy bond. Where does the legend part come in? Turns out the brother has been dead for three years.
This mystery is explored by a hardworking, white-clad ensemble of actor-dancers who use their bodies both as set pieces and as barometers of emotional intensity. The principal roles are double-cast with Kosovar and American actors, creating a kind of ego-id dynamic, while also allowing scenes to play out twice, in Albanian and English. (So don’t worry if you didn’t get the joke in Albanian.) There are some hackneyed sequences of interpretive dance, but they are outweighed by the sheer originality of the bicultural project, and by other delightful surprises. If a show contains both a guitar-toting ghost who croons Tom Waits and a Kosovar line dance performed to a remix of “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” it seems picky to call it trite.