MAN IN A CASE is a not to be missed mixed-media production.

MAN IN A CASE: A mixed media production adapted from Two Short Stories by Anton Chekhov: “Man in a Case” and “About Love.” Adapted and directed by Paul Lazar & Annie-B Parson / Big Dance Theater. Choreographed by Annie- B Parson. Berkeley Rep’s, Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison Street, Berkeley, CA. (510) 647-2949 or www.berkeleyrep.org.

MAN IN A CASE is a not to be missed mixed-media production. Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)

What a difference a day and a short drive across the spectacular new San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge makes.  On Saturday night our senses were bombarded with a cacophony of sound and plethora of grunge that required over three hours of time to make its questionable point. The next night on the Berkeley Rhoda stage we were treated to Man in a Case, a quiet, brilliant, mixed media performance requiring only 75 minutes treating our senses to all that theatre can be.

Accolades go to Paul Lazar & Annie-B Parson and Big Dance Theater who have adapted and directed two Short stories by Anton Chekhov, “Man in a Case” and “About Love” choreographed by Annie- B Parson creating a memorable evening.  Both stories are about unrequited love with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Tymberly Canale playing the star crossed would be lovers.

In the short story of the title Belikov (Baryshnikov) is a Greek teacher in a rural school whose stern, paranoid demeanor frightens not only his students but the entire town. What kind of man would wear his goulashes even in sunny weather and lock his door with six or eight dead bolts? Belikov does and his entrance into the story begins with Baryshnikov placing his dark coat on the stage and tentatively laying down on the coat, gracefully turning his lithe body into what becomes his protective cocoon as he rises to take part in the story.

The narrator is fellow teacher Burkin (tall, lean imposing Paul Lazar) who has a sister Barbara (a superb Tymberly Canale).  Belikov with his first glimpse of Barbara is smitten beyond belief leading to form of pas de deux that ends in tragedy. He retires to his home, surrounded by protective surveillance TV screens with a sparse bed that enshrouds him in a protective white drape. Upon arising from his reclusive domain Belikov’s love becomes irrational leading to his death and his funeral semi-lifts the pall created by his personae.

Unlike the staging by our local pride and joy the Word for Word company that uses every word, including the “ands”, “the” and descriptive passages, this production skillfully utilizes projections and snippets of music and song.

Tymberly Canale and Mikhail Baryshnikov perform a dramatic pas de deux depicting the unrequited love between an unmarried man and a married woman in About Love, the second piece featured in Man in a Case. Photo by T. Charles Erickson

In the much shorter charismatic second story “About Love”, the story teller is a highly educated farmer Alyokhin (Baryshnikov) who falls in love with Anne (Canale) a married woman. The pair is a joy to observe making one hope that they could consummate their love. That is not to happen. After all this is a Chekov character study and happiness is short supply in his writings.

Do not miss this production that has a limited run. Hopefully there will be added performances.

Kedar K. Adour, MD

Courtesy of   www.theatreworldinternetmagazine.com

 

CAST: Be]ikov (Mikhail Baryshnikov), Barbara (Tymberly Canale), Ivan (Chris Giarmo),Burkin (Paul Lazar), Kovalenko (Aaron Mattocks) Additional Onstage Appearance: Tei Blow, Jeff Larson

Set Designer Peter Ksander; Costume Designer Oana Botez, Lighting Designer Jennifer Tipton, Sound Designer Tel Blow,Video Designer Jeff Larson, Associate Video Designer Keith Skretch, Music Director Chris Giarmo,Production Stage Manager Brendan Regimbal, Assistant Director Aaron Mattocks,Assistant Set Designer Andreea Mincic, Assistant Lighting Designer Valentina Migoulia, Assistant Stage Manager Erin Mullin, Assistant Video Designer Steven Klems, Technical Director Nathan Lemoine, Sound Supervisor Anthony Luciani, General Manager Huong Hoang, Company Manager Katie Ichtertz. Produced by Baryshnikov Productions