“The war has been over for five years, ” his landlord and various neighbors and officials try to convince tenant Finkelbaum, living in a 1950 Berlin attic that he refuses to leave. “So they say,” he says, refusing to believe the news for years. What follows is a brilliant exploration from Writers Theatre of a man in total denial of what has happened to him, as we learn that he has adapted to having lost everyone and everything by retreating to a world of puppets made from items around the house. The puppets are his only confidants and companions that can be trusted, as we learn more and more about his past as his eerie story unfolds. Yes, he was at Auschwitz, but this in not a Holocaust drama exactly, but rather an anatomy of the will to create an alternative world when the world around us becomes uninhabitable. Kudos to Larry Neumann Jr.’s spectacular portrayal of a mind that has refused to go where it cannot go and for his uncanny ability to make household items become seemingly living, breathing beings through physically manipulating them and often even voicing their thoughts. Michael Montenegro’s puppets, too, are an enormous factor in helping the illusion, especially with Finkelbaum’s life-sized and melancholy female companion. (Dennis Polkow)
This production is now closed.