STORIES FROM THE RAINS OF LOVE AND DEATH by Abas Na'lbandian, translated and adapted by Soheil Parsa and Peter Farbridge, directed by Parsa, with Stewart Arnott, Nita Costa, Mark Ellis, Farbridge, John Gilbert, Daniel Karasik, Stavroula Logothettis and Andrew Scorer. Presented by Modern Times Stage Company at Artword (75 Portland). Runs to November 23, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees Saturday and Sunday 2:30 pm. $20-$25, Sunday pwyc. 416-366-7323. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNNN
one of the best things art can do is unsettle and disturb, forcing us to reflect on what we're viewing and where we might stand in the world created by the artist. Sometimes, as in the case of Abas Na'lbandian 's Stories From The Rains Of Love And Death, we don't find concrete answers to the questions that arise. The work's five scenes are related by echoed episodes and bits of dialogue; the throughline is tonal rather than narrative.
A mother and daughter deal with a dead man in their bed; two men wait for an assignment; a teacher shows concern (and possibly more) for a student.
In the hands of director Soheil Parsa , these scenes are visceral and intense, nightmarish fragments that often contain a figure who may exist or may be there only in another character's mind. We're plummeted into a tense Beckett-land with no compass but our own emotional responses to each atmospheric scene.
The actors turn the material into five high-stakes incidents, with particularly fine work by Stavroula Logothettis as two strikingly different mothers, Daniel Karasik as an ambiguous schoolboy, and Stewart Arnott as his conflicted teacher and in other scenes a mysterious man.
The overall power of the show owes no less to the designers than to the actors. Thomas Payne 's insinuating soundscape, Angela Thomas 's sombre costumes, David Skelton 's baked earth set and Andrea Lundy 's suggestive lighting are able, amazingly, to be both specific and bizarrely dreamlike at the same time. An extraordinary production.