La Ronde by Arthur Schnitzler, adapted by Jason Sherman, directed by Herbert Olschok. For details, see listings, this page. Rating: NN
true to its title, arthur schnitzler's La Ronde goes round and round, but where it stops everyone knows. The 1897 play -- performed here in an unremarkable adaptation by Jason Sherman -- shows a daisy chain of sexual encounters that deliver many onstage orgasms but few audience surprises.
Less shocking than it must have been a century ago, the show does attempt to explore a variety of human experience, progressing from youth to adulthood and crossing boundaries of class and culture (but surprisingly not sexual orientation -- this is a very het world). Sex as power is a common theme, as is the fact that language doesn't necessarily help the play's characters express things their bodies do or don't do.
Director Herbert Olschok adds some fine details, like having characters drop props on the ground -- combs, cigars -- that linger in other scenarios. And Astrid Janson's De Chirico-inspired set has an archetypal solidity.
But the tone is uneven, and so are the performances. Martha Burns and Tony Nardi's married couple resonate -- Nardi is a subtle clown -- while Dean Gilmour, Nancy Palk and Holly Lewis struggle with humanizing dehumanized characters.
At three hours, La Ronde never really gets to le point.GLENN SUMI