The second show of the season at off-off-Broadway's Jean Cocteau Repertory Theatre includes such elements as a bordello, S&M and politicians engaged in sexual role playing. Any wonder the show is sold out for the rest of its run?
The play in question, Jean Genet's dark 1956 satire, The Balcony, began previews Oct. 8, opened Oct. 10 in repertory, and ends its scheduled run Dec. 16. The last two performances are sold out.
Set in a brothel in violent, revolutionary Europe, The Balcony shows how people from all walks of life fall into twisted power plays when they dress up as such figures as a bishop, judge and queen.
Genet, also author of The Maids, rewrote The Balcony several times, and it's generally accepted as an absurdist work, though director Eve Adamson isn't happy with that categorization. In press materials for the show, Adamson said the play's essence is found in its "imperfect role playing" and compared the dress-up to "a drag queen with a five o'clock shadow -- an effect made not by how well you do the impersonation but by the flaw."
The Balcony features such Cocteau veterans as Harris Berlinsky, Elise Stone, Craig Smith and Molly Pietz. Also in the cast are Angela Madden, Christopher Black, Jennifer Lee Dudek, Marc Diraison, Tim Deak, Jason Crowl, Jolie Garrett and Neil Shaw. Designing the show are Margaret McKowen (costumes), Christopher Martin (sound) and director Adamson (lighting). The rest of the Cocteau season is as follows:
€ The Servant of Two Masters, the eighteenth-century Italian farce by Carlo Goldoni, directed by Jonathan Polgar, Dec. 3-Feb. 24, 2000.
€ Edward II, Bertolt Brecht's tale (translated by critic and playwright Eric Bentley) of the English king previously dramatized by Christopher Marlowe, directed by Karen Lordi, Jan. 21, 2000-April 20, 2000.
€ Medea, the classic Greek tragedy by Euripides, directed by Eve Adamson, April 7, 2000-May 21, 2000.
All shows and dates are subject to change. Call (212) 677-0060 for more information.
Jean Cocteau Repertory was founded in 1971 by Eve Adamson, in order to create a theatre with a rotating repertory of classic plays with a resident company of actors. Adamson was artistic director until succeeded by Robert Hupp in 1989; she remains a part of the company as its most prolific director.
-- By David Lefkowitz