The Vindication Of Senyora Clito Mestres by Montserrat Roig, directed by Chris Abraham, with Dragana Varagic. Presented by April Productions at the Theatre Centre (1087 Queen West). Runs to November 11, Tuesday-Sunday 8 pm. $12-$15. 416-504-7529. Rating: NNN
actor dragana varagic burns with quiet intensity, but even her fine performance can't make up for the flawed show she's in. The Vindication Of Senyora Clito Mestres concerns an actor returning to the stage to play Clytemnestra after events in her own tragic life have more than echoed the Greek heroine's.
Clito has kept quiet much of her life, so the role requires lots of internalization, and Varagic, chain-smoking and speaking in an indeterminate accent, masterfully communicates buried feelings.
She's the queen of subtext, but what can she do with such a sloppy text? The play feels more like a short story -- or at best a radio play -- than a piece of theatre.
Perhaps to compensate, some annoying mannerisms have crept into Varagic's performance. Some of her lines are so understated that they're inaudible.
Director Chris Abraham and designer Jan Komarek haul out their "memory play" bag of tricks, using snatches of music (usually Wagner, to indicate Germany, where much of the play is set), theatre props and vague sounds of European cafe bustling to evoke the past.
But it's all too much. The SummerWorks production of two years ago was simpler and more effective. Sometimes a pretty production makes a thin script look scrawnier.