Pulling the strings

By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  March 10, 2010

Appropriate to a milieu where people and their motivations are not necessarily what they appear to be, this staging is a constant waterfall of supplementing and sometimes contradicting stage business. Sexual subtext might be brought to the fore with ribald antics or by everyone chomping into apples with Tom Jones gusto. Parallel subconscious activity sometimes takes place on a platform below the main action, a physicalized id. Someone leaning out of a ceiling hatch is frantically scribbling notes and dropping them down to characters as they speak — an embodied superego? Needless to say, under such pummeling inundation, we are disoriented at least as often as we are illuminated.

We are not likely to relate to many of Wedekind's characters except abstractly, since they're basically puppets being manipulated for our sociohistorical edification. For example, to underscore Lulu's degradation, he has her take up with a lesbian lover, Countess Geschwitz (Jing Xu), who is drawn as pathetic in her amorous plight. (Woe, the tribulations of a decadent society.)

Nonetheless, Lulu offers insight into the imagination of the playwright.

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