Under the seamless direction of Judith Swift, there are marvelous performances here. Estrella’s Jan emerges from blithe unconcern to political awareness with psychological finesse. As Max, O’Brien fine-tunes his Marxist outrage with a sure hand on the dial. Kidd provides thoughtfulness as well as moral passion, and Kim brings nuanced joie de vivre to a character who could have been played flatly. Eleanor is not exactly a huggable character beyond our sympathy for her being ill, but Kane gives her interesting depth. Solid support is provided by Karen Carpenter, Tom Gleadow, Amanda Ruggiero, Kyle Blanchette, and R. Bobby.
A recurring collective character here is Plastic People of the Universe, the underground, anti-establishment Czech rock band that inspired the young population even as they were harassed by authorities for listening to them.
From the singer-songwriter ’70s through the hard-rock ’80s, freedom in the West was arguably most purely expressed in music. After all, when the spirit is soaring, it is not likely listening to a political debate or reading the fine print in a protest petition, however worthy of attention both might be.
Wonderful production, encouraging reminder. After the show, audiences exiting are treated to music by Hypernova, the Iranian rock band. They are now living in Brooklyn.
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