Friday, September 28, 2012

A Very Terrible Father, Revisited

Dream Theatre has remounted one of my favorite Menekseoglu plays: A Very Terrible Father.

I wrote about the earlier production here, and I somehow forgot to include a rhyme with my post, I think because the emotional experience of the play was so preoccupying my mind.

Jeremy Menekseoglu as Matthias, and Megan Merrill as Lilli.

It's a play about a dying man, Matthias, who is trying very hard to do something right with his life. You might think, from the "terrible father" of the title, that the play is about a man who has treated a child badly. That's not it. It's about a man who has had nothing to do with his child, but who has journeyed to America to see her, one last time, to deliver a message.

It turns out to be hard to deliver the message. But, in a terribly poignant, inspired scene, he does his best.

Megan Merrill is lovely as Lilli, who is something like a profane angel of redemption, the agent of change in Matthias's heart. Katharine Swan was utterly convincing as the still-heartbroken mother of Matthias's daughter. Alex Woodruff, as his daughter, captures the inarticulate angst of a young teen caught up in the deep waters of her parents' history.

Finally, Giau Truong plays Bill, the American stepfather, with creepy sincerity. I love this character, in some twisted way: a healthy-living enthusiast who seems oblivious of the fact that he is, underneath it all, a fear-ridden control freak.

To communicate what matters
in the face of grief that shatters
is no easy task.

But sometimes it's what life asks.

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