Nov 272013

In one corner, Michael Crowley is a study in stoicism as Vanek while Ivan Zizek shows the firmness and barely-contained desperation of Stanek, the writer who knows he has become a success at the expense of his reputation among his peers. But whereas these male characters generally display a typical male reserve, their poker-faces stand in contrast to the more demonstrative, edgy performances on the distaff side of the arena. Sissel Bakken, as Vankova (Havel’s part), bristles at the treatment she gets from her hostess, “Stankova,” (Hanna Bondarewska), who becomes increasingly panicked and paranoid as their conversation proceeds. As Stankova, Bondarewska makes explicit the tortures suffered by those who know what is right but who cannot or will not do it-the price any artist pays when they sell out to the authorities. Bakken meanwhile, is free to reveal the truly conflicted nature of this encounter, and from her we get the strong impression (not even hinted at among the boys) that this was not a free visitation, but was in fact somewhat coerced…To Read More

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