the old woman


the old woman bam 001

this past sunday i sat anxiously with my fellow new yorkers (including steve buscemi) in the howard gilman opera house at BAM. we were anticipating the old woman, a beckettian and at times vaudevillian play starring the hysterically strange duo, willem dafoe and mikhail baryshnikov. i say hysterically in the comical sense, their almost slapstick outbursts and alternating shrieks are toxically delightful. the duo could be brothers, with our without the deranged kabuki makeup–and as the show demonstrated, their synchronicity is magnificent. there is an old woman’s corpse, is it in the trapezoidal bed? have several other old women fallen out of the window? are our protagonists, A and B merely halves of the same convoluted mind? perhaps all of these things. the play is based on the novella by daniil kharms, an absurdist soviet poet and writer, and certainly shines with glimpses of mayakovsky and other members of the futurist movement. even days later, i am still captivated by the folkloric animals and the suspenseful, oftentimes menacing lighting by aj weissband. the play runs through the end of the week, if you get a chance to be mesmerized by this angular and engaging pantomime circus. by sv