This is another play review I wrote for the Experiencing The Live Theatre I class

The Kabbalistic Psychoanalysis of Adam R. Tzaddick

A play with a title such as this leads to many preconceptions, not the least of which is the audience member’s skepticism as to the play’s content and whether it adds up to too much conceptual self-absorption on the part of the playwright. In this case Anton Piatigorsky is asking for trouble, and fully deserves it for this pretentious mess.

            As can be easily ascertained, the play’s main problem lies in the conundrum of its title and with this example it is simply that the author is overreaching his grasp, as “kabbalistic” and “psychoanalysis” are two giant balls he does not have the skill to juggle. Instead, in defining the former term, we get a seemingly disturbed patient with an intense obsession with a sacred Jewish text, the Zohar, which is superficially summarized into a discernible whole. Paul Fauteux plays the patient, Adam, as a foolishly ideological loner who has not stepped outside of his apartment for four years, and his one-note portrayal contains no character development or presentation of multi-dimensional characteristics. Of course, he is only seemingly disturbed because he has latched onto this book immaturely as a way to hide his regret for a childhood incestuous relationship with his sister. This knowledge is supposed to be the denouement’s big surprising discovery, but as with the rest of the play Mr. Piatigorsky does himself no favors by telegraphing the incest angle about five minutes in.

            Adam has obviously not learned or evolved from his mistakes, and one feels the same about the play in general, for it never branches out from the suspense-killing arguments between patient and therapist. One gets the sense that by throwing all this conceptual philosophy up in the air that the playwright is trying to impress with his “wealth” of knowledge, but it quickly becomes tedious. As for defining “psychoanalysis,” we get an aloof professional in yet another one-dimensional performance as played by Terrence Brant, who spends his time solely listening and trying to keep Adam on the topic at hand by explaining to him the purpose of his job and of these meetings. Inevitably, as soon as Adam starts running off at the mouth again the appointments degenerate into juvenile shouting matches with absolutely no impact on the audience except to make the viewer unreceptive to the play’s “strengths.”

            On a final note, the direction is every bit as abysmal as the other aspects of the piece. Chris Abraham’s influence is hardly noticeable, as he seems to have given the author the benefit of the doubt and appears to be content to just window-dress the production rather than add any other dimensions to it. The few flourishes he does add fall by the wayside, especially his cheap attempt to add humor in between all this grimness by having Adam eat a prominently placed and lighted apple and then return its fully eaten core to its initial resting place. Moreover, the jazz Mr. Abraham introduces for the last thirty seconds of each scene to make it painfully obvious the scene is about to end grows annoying rather quickly. All in all this was a frustrating experience and one is grateful it lasted only fifty-five minutes, time one will never recover.


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