I Am the Wind. 59E59 Theaters (see Off-Off Broadway). By Jon Fosse. Translated by Simon Stephens. Directed by Paul Takacs. With Christopher Tierney, Louis Butelli. Running time: 55mins. No intermission.
I Am the Wind: In brief
Christopher Tierney and Louis Butelli star in the New York premiere of a meditative drama by Norwegian sensation Jon Fosse, in which two friends take a boating trip. Paul Takacs directs a translation by British playwright Simon Stephens.
I Am the Wind: Theater review by Helen Shaw
Jon Fosse is a puzzle. He’s the most-produced living European playwright, so clearly his elliptical, neo-Pinterian poem-plays issue tempting challenges for other artists. But his American versions are frequently turgid, pretentious and silly, and Paul Takacs’s production of the two-ciphers-in-a-boat duet, I Am the Wind, is no exception.
The One (a very capable Tierney) and the Other (Butelli) are metaphorically and literally at sea. The One searches industriously to describe his alienation and carps at the jittery Other, who’s understandably nervous about sailing with a suicidal skipper. Yammering ensues. Is it an accident of Simon Stephens’s translation? Does a cliché like “I turn into a rock / and it gets / the rock / gets heavier and heavier” sound better in Norwegian? I can only hope so, because we should maintain respect for our friends across the pond, and not be forced to conclude that the Eurozone finds high-school diary-prose (“How can you say that / Of course you’re not worthless / you’re worth so much”) legitimate fodder for the stage.—Theater review by Helen Shaw
THE BOTTOM LINE: This nautical allegory’s not blowing us away.
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