Saturday, May 9, 2009

Theater: Exit the King

Eugene Ionesco's absurdest play, Exit the King is a hilarious concoction of one man's sobering grapple with death. A fictitious King, King Berenger the First, has lived for over four centuries, and in this play he has a little over an hour before facing his mortality. Geoffrey Rush brilliantly and skillfully weaves together the realities of life and death-- he captures the pomp and character of King on high plush with delusions, but exudes a sense of 'everyman' as he realizes that death cannot be escaped. It is one man's final performance before his ultimate dance. In his Broadway debut, Rush takes charge of this play: he wobbles, stumbles, spits, flails arms and legs, cries, laughs, and dies with such immense grace and authenticity. Rush's performance far outshines Susan Sarandon who plays the King's first wife , Queen Marguerite. Sarandon lacks emotion, and seems to harp far too much on her political agenda and activism. Yes, we get it: King Berenger with his ruined, ravaged and neglected kingdom serves as a parallel to that of Bush's rule. Sarandon does, however, redeem herself in the final act, where she regally, elegantly and honorably leads the King towards death. A must see!!

New York Times slide show and review

1 comment:

  1. Rush is such a brilliant actor! Wish I could see this one...