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Review Of Live Performane:Notes From Underground

1045 words - 4 pages

Review # 1.Notes from UndergroundFrom a novel by Fyodor DostoevskyAdapted by Andrew Litzky, Bill Peters, Zoë Inman,Llysa Holland and Rachel Katz CareyCinema (Adelaide University), Fringe Hub25th February 2004Presented by Theatre SimpleDirected by Bill Peters"Having too much consciousness is a disease!" the Underground Man declares, leaving the audience to contemplate what this means; is the mind of the Underground Man diseased? Is his speech the insane ramblings of a paranoid schizophrenic, or the commentary of an eccentric and often insecure social analyst? The audience encounters evidence in Notes from Underground to confirm both arguments, and ultimately, the choice is left to the individual and their perception of the character.Notes from Underground is an angst-filled solo performance piece adapted from Fyodor Dostoevsky's classic 19th century novel of the same name. Andrew Litzky portrays the misanthropic, self-loathing Underground Man, who craves, yet at the same time fears, intimacy and attention. The Underground Man is a confusing character because of his numerous contradictory convictions and emotions; he will talk of how he loathes himself, "I am a sick man, I'm an evil man", and how he is nothing, "a mouse", yet, paradoxically he feels that everyone is beneath him. Litzky depicts the complex Underground Man with the appropriate amount of anger and spite that causes him not only to retreat from the outside world and its inhabitants, but also to indirectly blame his retreat on society. He rants about the exaggerated and imagined slights that people have made against him, how he hates society's conventions because they inspire rank and why, if civilised men are seemingly so gentle, "blood runs in rivers?"Litzky's performance is central to the play's success; he gives the Underground Man a brain, a heart and a soul, when it would be so easy just to condemn and portray him as a lunatic. He makes the "intensely conscious" 'mouse', the Underground Man's crude self-portrait, human again so the audience can relate to and, at some level, understand him. At the same time Litzky keeps the audience distanced because, over all, the Underground Man is a recluse, and his monologue is internal. Litzky, completely focused on his character, is able to act around the obvious presence of the audience, as if the Underground Man were completely alone. His monologue is for his own benefit, to sort out his cluttered and 'diseased' consciousness; it is his constant personal psycho-analysis of his life, he is both the patient and therapist. The audience and related noises are simply in his imagination and we are the silent witnesses of this, an intriguing use of the audience-actor relationship.The only emotional interactions the Underground Man has with other people involve anger, bitterness, revenge and humiliation. Director, Bill Peters has created a unique interpretation and environment in order for the unusual nature of the Underground Man to appear...

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