The Revisionist – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

If you earn your living composing poetry, penning prose or dispensing literature, experiencing a writer’s block can be a crippling concern. If your muse is gone and you’ve hit the wall, you might be desperate enough to try anything to coax the words back. If you are a young American man named David, you might pack a bag, hop a plane and seek the inspiration of a complete change of scenery in the company of a relative even if you haven’t see her in decades, That is what desperation can feel like.

West Hartford’s Playhouse on Park is encouraging you to climb into David’s head as you watch Jesse Eisenberg’s unusual journey “The Revisionist,” the New England premiere of a puzzling drama being offered until Sunday, April 29. Carl Howell’s David has a deadline to meet and he’s already six weeks late. He has rejected a cabin in the woods and writing retreats as possible solutions to his dilemma. He must revise a science fiction book he has written, “Mindreader,” that comments on society and the real world. An escape, to a cousin’s small apartment in Poland, seems to be the answer he seeks.

Cecilia Riddett’s Maria is ready to welcome David with open arms. A little sprite of a woman, she craves family and can’t wait to spoil him with a roasted chicken dinner (he’s a vegetarian), a tour of the city (he’s too busy) and stories about all the family portraits that grace her walls (he knows none of their shared relatives).

To say David is ungrateful, selfish and rude and unappreciative of her efforts is an understatement, yet Maria cheerfully keeps trying. She even invites her friend Zenon (Sebastian Buczyk) to come and help her in her desire to make David feel loved. For a lady who holds family so dear, Maria finds it hard to understand David’s apathy. She is delighted he has “come to bring blood back into the house,” and she is even kind to the telemarketers who continually call on the phone.

Sasha Bratt directs this intriguing encounter that reveals who the true revisionist is in the stories being told. For tickets ($25-40), call Playhouse on Park, 244 Park Road, West Hartford at 860-623-5900 ext 10 or online at Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Upcoming events include a Play Reading on Tuesday, April 24 ($10), the 19th Annual Mayor’s Charity Ball on Saturday, May 12, a cool kids musical “Polkadots” May 12-20, a Comedy Night on Saturday, May 19 ($15) and a Young Professionals Night Out on Thursday, June 28 from 6-7 p.m. ($20) during the running of “In the Heights” (June 13-July 29).

You may find yourself revising the whole meaning of your family members after a visit with David and Maria and Zenon. A stiff glass of vodka may help.

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