The Lorgnette: The Return of Slapstick Tragedy in ‘The Mutilated’

The-Mutilated-1Tennessee Williams’ one-act play The Mutilated just completed a month-long run—extended a week by popular demand—at the New Ohio Theatre in the Village. It’s an odd play, certainly, and that oddness was embraced and reveled in by the two perfectly cast stars: Penny Arcade and Mink Stole. This production, directed by Cosmin Chivu, followed the lead Williams provided with his script and, instead of searching for naturalism in the slight plot, used the work as an opportunity to experiment with tone and genre. Chivu put the characters through what amounted to a series of set pieces around the loose plot, an opportunity for the actors to throw themselves into moments of farce, tragedy, comedy, melodrama, a soliloquy or two and even a little action. The plot is, basically, bathos; as the two stars performed it, though, the over-heightened melodrama oscillated between a moving, down-and-out humanity and a detached irony about the limits of dramatizing these characters’ lives.

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Twice monthly, ArtsNash is delighted to feature articles from our partner The Clyde Fitch Report. The contributors to CFR cast their journalistic eyes on the worlds of arts and politics. Follow The Clyde Fitch Report on Facebook and TwitterBeck Feibelman is an art historian and cultural critic. He writes about art, performance and opera. He is a co-curator of The Clyde Fitch Report. Look for him on Twitter (@feibelman) and Facebook.

*Photo of Mink Stole and Penny Arcade in The Mutilated by Scott Wynn courtesy The Clyde Fitch Report.

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