Confined to an insane asylum, as he often was, the Marquis de Sade directed plays using the inmates as his actors. Peter Weiss’ Marat/Sade is a revolutionary play within a post-revolutionary play, in which the Marquis (Lyam White) recreates the assassination of the French writer and politician Jean-Paul Marat (Jason Harber). Balagan is a fitting location for the production, given the theater’s notable resemblance to an asylum. The technical components (technical direction by Ed Cook, lighting by KT Goeke) are the best I’ve seen at Balagan. That said, if you don’t know your French revolutionary history going into the show, you won’t understand it any better coming out. Under Richard Clairmont’s direction, the production is an exercise in physical theater. The result is a visually complex stage that ultimately overpowers the story and its political implications. Although the inmate ensemble has developed a wonderful array of tics, from incessant mumblings to unself-conscious masturbation, the choreographed insanity gives way only during the play’s most dramatic moments. The rest is lost amid the moaning and rattling within the asylum walls. 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. Ends Jan. 31. BRENT ARONOWITZ

Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Jan. 8. Continues through Jan. 31, 2009

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