Reviewed by Paula Citron
Written by Kate Cayley
Directed by Alan Dilworth
Performed by Sarah Orenstein, Paul Dunn, Eric Goulem, Claire Calnan, Richard McMillan and Caroline Gillis
Mar. 22 to May 1, 2011
Kate Cayley’s world premiere play After Akhmatova at the Tarragon is based on a fascinating premise. Unfortunately, the writing becomes circular and repetitive at the end.
Anna Akhmatova was a legendary Russian poet who wrote her great epic Requiem during the worst of Stalin’s purges in the late 1930s. So inflammatory was the poem that, to keep the words alive, Anna and her friends had to memorize the verses and then burn the paper they were written on.
The poem was inspired by the arrest of her son who was sent to a Siberian gulag. The conflict here, is that the son is not as admiring of his mother’s work, having spent 18 years in prison. The play is about a great poet and a bad mother.
There is a strong acting ensemble to ride over the playwright’s flaws, and Alan Dilworth’s direction is poignant. Jung-Hye Kim’s sets and costumes radiate period.
After Akhmatova continues at the Tarragon Theatre until May 1.
I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for THE NEW CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.