Jean Genet’s “The Balcony” is a play damned by its own success. We can still imagine a time when its moves were impossibly daring: a play set in a brothel! General, bishop, and chief of police exposed as empty roles! Debates over truth and illusion! A revolution in which the new boss turns out to be same as the old boss! In other words, we can still imagine the sixties. But after the collapse of the old hypocrisies that “The Balcony” targeted, in the hyperconscious environment described better by Tom Frank than Marcuse, how can this play come to life? The answer can’t be the perfunctory production mounted by Tin Fish at the Theatre Building. Hampered by uneven performances, dropped lines, and sluggish blocking—revolution here seems a matter of standing around, waiting for something to happen—”The Balcony” ends up, like the chief of police, embalmed in its own reputation. Genet wanted his play to be staged with the solemnity of a Catholic mass; the present production, dutiful and listless, leaves you longing for a new Reformation. (John Beer)
This production is now closed.