Friday, October 21, 2016

New Rep Theatre Presents "Good" by C.P. Taylor - Through October 30th - A Cautionary Tale

It comes as no surprise that New Rep Artistic Director, Jim Petosa, has chosen "Good" by C.P. Taylor as a production to coincide with our troubled and troublesome Presidential election. The parallels between Germany leading up to the Holocaust and our present Trump-infested political season are obvious. In this play, a "good man," Professor John Halder (An excellent Michael Kaye), has penned a novel inspired by his struggle with his mother who has slipped into dementia.  In the novel, he proposes humane ways in which euthanasia may be beneficial for the enfeebled individual and for the beleaguered family try to cope with caring for this person. Adolph Eichmann (the always impressive Benjamin Evett) reads the novel and immediately grasps how this professor could be very useful to the Third Reich. Professor Halder is summoned, and takes the first step down the slippery slope that will lead him to supervise horrors at Auschwitz. As he continues his downward slide into eventually becoming a trusted officer in the SS, complications in his personal life intervene and interrupt the scenes in which he is being groomed to become a senior officer in the dreaded SS. We meet his unhappy wife (a chronically dishevelled and depressed Christine Power), his vivacious and ambitious mistress (an alluring Casey Tucker), his Jewish psychiatrist friend Maurice (the often hysteria prone Tim Spears, because he sees what the future holds for him and his ilk), and Halder's demented mother (the very convincing and unhinged Judith Chaffee). Rounding out the excellent cast are Jesse Garlick as Doctor/Dispatch Rider, Lily Linke as Elizabeth/Sister, Will Madden as Freddie, the SS officer who befriends Halder, and Alex Schneps who does a frighteningly accurate send-up of Hitler in full rant mode.
Benjamin Evett as Eichmann
Michael Kaye as Professor Halder
"Good" by C.P. Taylor
New Rep Theatre
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Through October 30th
Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures
The play is written in an expressionistic style with music.  The music is the sound track that plays in Halder's head in moments of stress - Wagner, Sigmund Romberg, Beethoven, Chopin, and even some Benny Goodman licks. Because of the disjointed expressionistic style, the playwright does not engage the emotions of the audience in terms of making us care about any of the characters. It is a political and polemical play that serves as a cautionary tale as we draw near to the voting booths across America."Are we having a nervous breakdown? Are we as a nation having a nervous breakdown?" And that, at the end of the day, is the question we must ask ourselves as this troubling election cycle reaches its denouement.

Directed by Jim Petosa, Scenic Design by Jyoung Han, Lighting Design by Bridget K. Doyle, Costume Design by Megan Mills and Theona White, Sound Design by Aubrey Dube. Co-produced by New Rep and Boston Center for American Performance. Staged at New Rep Theater, Watertown, MA. through October 30th.

New Rep Website



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