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picture - Chekhov LizardbrainTheater Review

by Harvey Perr

published October 24, 2008


Chekhov Lizardbrain

ended its run on October 19


It is not the easiest task to decipher all that transpires in The Pig Iron Theatre Company’s elegant production of their Chekhov Lizardbrain, but total comprehension is immaterial in face of such unfettered imagination. What can one say when one is sitting there, limp with laughter, if one cannot understand the source of that laughter? If one is moved by the profound sense of humanity that is evoked, is it important if one isn’t able to say just what it is that creates that feeling? The only thing you need to know, under such circumstances, is that the work is so theatrically assured that it provides a collective experience in the audience that revels in its pleasures without knowing precisely what the source of those pleasures are. And the real fun is not in figuring any of it out but in merely being open to experiencing it. When artists are at work, sit back and enjoy.


In this “menagerie of human possibility,” where the human condition is put out on the stage and allowed “to dance,” all sorts of hell break loose, thanks to the transformative powers of its ideas. One doesn’t always see the connections between Temple Grandin’s statement which appears in the program (“The human brain is really three brains, each one built on top of the previous at three different times in evolutionary history”) and the quotes from Chekhov, particularly the one from The Three Sisters about how necessary it is that cranes keep flying no matter what, or how either or both informed and illuminated the minds of its creators; it is there, however, in the subtly hilarious work of the four performers – Gabriel Quinn Bauriedel, Dito van Reigersberg, Geoff Sobelle, and the vocally amazing James Sugg – and the magical way its designers have carved out a unique universe. It is there in the connections we make as we go from some sort of recognizable reality to that secret place where reality is merely a gnat-like intrusion in our lives.


Chekhov Lizardbrain is no longer with us, unfortunately, but a work of such endless invention needs to be memorialized, for, along with Arias With A Twist, it was one of the absolute joys of the theater season.


harveyperr @


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