THE PRAGUE VISITOR created by the company, directed by Ker Wells, performed by Varrick Grimes, Alex McLean, Elizabeth Rucker and Jane Wells. Presented by Number Eleven Theatre at 376 Dufferin (rear). Runs to April 6, Wednesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinee Sunday 2 pm. $12-$15, Sunday pwyc. 416-591-0964. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Presented like a freewheeling hallucination, The Prague Visitor takes the audience into the mind -- or the reality? -- of an insecure man (Alex McLean) who's hired by the central registry in Prague for some unspecified job.But never mind what the job is -- first he has to travel to the city and find the office, a task in itself. Number Eleven's quartet of performers give physical, vocal and musical life to his search, but there's a sense that the episodes are organized arbitrarily. That's not a major fault given the piece's irrational, dreamlike quality, but some stronger sense of structure would give audiences a better hold on the material.
Drawing on the lives and writings of Franz Kafka and other real central Europeans in the 20s, the surreal narrative offers some striking moments in Ker Wells's staging. It's the kind of show where ultimately you let the elements -- Easter eggs, chandeliers, whips with tiny bells, shadow puppets, Yiddish songs -- wash over you and then you can make what you want of them.