"BATTLE OF BLACK AND DOG" AT YALE REP

BONNIE GOLDBERG

The drama “Battle of Black and Dog” by French playwright Bernard-Marie Koltes is disturbing.  He died in 1989 of AIDS but left almost a dozen plays to his credit that are seen most notably in Europe.  The Yale Repertory Theatre is bringing this work to its New Haven stage until Sunday, May 8, under the direction of Robert Woodruff.

A construction site in west Africa is the scene of the death of a worker under mysterious circumstances.  Is it an accident or more likely murder?  The body conveniently disappears and when Alboury (Albert Jones) comes to claim his “brother” the body is nowhere to be found.  The site manager Horn (Andrew Robinson) and his main henchman Cal (Tommy Schrider) assert that it will be back tomorrow but, otherwise, stonewall Alboury’s attempts to find answers.

To add another layer to the intrigue, Leone (Tracy Middendorf) suddenly arrives at the site, at the invitation of Horn, who may be entertaining ideas of marrying her.  She is searching for someone to be faithful to and she has strange encounters with all three men, all unsatisfying and sexual in nature, as she strives to resolve her loneliness.  Alternately in a garden or a gutter, Leone naively tries to communicate her feelings in English, French and German with varying degrees of success.

Horn, a gambler, tries to buy Alboury off so he will go away, while Cal takes a more violent course of action, with a rifle.  In her simplistic way, Leone is ill equipped to deal with the tensions and nerves, that heighten and explode like the fireworks display that Horn has promised her.

For tickets ($35-82), call Yale Rep, 1120 Chapel Street, New Haven at 203-432-1234 or online at www.yalerep.org.  Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees at 2 p.m. selected Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Be forewarned there is nudity, coarse language and violence as spotlights are focused on a remote corner of Africa where a mystery lies buried in the mud.

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