Let's Talk Off Broadway

Yvonne Korshak reviews Off-Broadway, Broadway, Film and Art

Tag: Gus Kaikkonen

Review | The Philanderer by Bernard Shaw | Directed by Gus Kaikkonen | Pearl Theatre Company

… pre-vintage Shaw …  

Shaw’s early play, The Philanderer of 1893, is a romantic comedy that’s as focused on the ideas of Henrik Ibsen as it is on love, and with good reason:  for Shaw ideas and love were equally suffused with eros.

Shaw saw Ibsen’s A Doll’s House five times around 1893 and this iconic drama was revelatory, bringing him to the possibility of a theater of ideas.  And, with his comic bent, and awareness of the pitfalls of stern moralizing, Shaw sought a humorous way to explore Ibsen’s theme of the independent woman.  This led him in The Philanderer to comic exaggerations which today to me seem dated, though when the play was first produced, they may have seemed fresh and provocative.  As a gauge of that, the Pearl’s program tells us that  “…due to strict censorship … it was not performed on the stage until 1902.”

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Scott Barrow as a farmer in the neighborhood gets the treatment from Dr. Knock while Chris Nixon as his  friend looks on.  Photo: Richard Termine 

Review | Doctor Knock, Or the Triumph of Medicine by Jules Romains | Directed by Gus Kaikkonen | Mint Theater Company

… the best medicine …

Dr. Knock (the first K is pronounced as in Evel Knievel) probably doesn’t have a degree in medicine but that doesn’t stop him from practicing it.  This play is about a quack doctor but — most of all — it’s the study of a really terrific con man on the job.

As the play opens, Dr. Knock is taking over from Dr. Parpalaid whose provincial practice he’s purchased on an installment plan.  At first, the older Parpalaid seems to be taking advantage of this nice, new young man Knock by working out the payment schedule to his own advantage — a beautiful red herring since it’s nothing compared to the way Dr. Knock is going to con the world, or for starters the 2,000 souls in and around St. Maurice, France.

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