The Playgoer: "Is.Man" Ain't

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

"Is.Man" Ain't

As a critic, you never know when you're called upon to do a little genuine news reporting--as Caryn James discovered at St. Ann's Warehouse this weekend reviewing the visiting Dutch play Is.Man by Adelheid Roosen, when lead actor Youssef Sjoerd Idilbi walked off after expressing frustration with a faulty sound system:

It always takes a while to know when an exit is unplanned, but the performers left behind were vamping for a little too long: a musician sang and played, and a white-robed dervish who had been sitting quietly in the background got up and started whirling. But you knew Mr. Idilbi was leaving the building when he popped in from the wings wearing street clothes and carrying a plastic bag from Foot Locker. He retrieved something he had left at the rear of the stage and walked away, carrying any hope of a dazzling American debut for Ms. Roosen with him. The playwright herself took over the role, but it wasn’t the same.
Yes, when the whirling dervishes and the Foot Locker bags start appearing, you know something's not quite right.

Unfortunately for the show, James says Idilbi was the best thing about it. And few dramas currently running, it seems, can boast an onstage moment more delightfully weird.


Anonymous said...

Yes, and don't you love how St. Ann's AD Susan Feldman tries to insult our intelligence in the same article by stating that the actor was feeling "physically ill"? Oh, so THAT explains it!

Nice try, Susie, but if you think your audience is that dense, I don't want to be one of them!

Philip Dunaway

Anonymous said...

But James didn't DO the REPORTING. She said the guy walked off, but she didn't interview him later. Maybe she couldn't, but that was very under-reported imho - and I found the commend on Veiled Monologues kind of paronizing. I haven't seen the show -- maybe she's right - -but why is she assuming that the audience is supposed to be shocked that Muslim women have sex? I very much doubt that is the point.