This 1921 obtuse, dense, bizarre, depressing, esoteric and epic 434 line poem by T. S. Eliot has been dramatized and directed by the brothers Domig: concept/installation by Daniel and performed by Christopher who is an excellent actor and the main reason I went to see this theatrical thesis.
Christopher Domig is a compelling actor. A brave actor. Fully committed. Doing challenging work that challenges his audience. Tackling T. S. Eliot’s THE WASTE LAND is a daunting task. It’s not easily understood or accessible.
It’s a far cry from Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats immortalized by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
I first discovered Mr. Domig in 2007 in another Fringe Festival work. A monologue. DIRT. He gave “a dazzling performance” I wrote in my review. “Powerful, mesmerizing and thoroughly enthralling in a somewhat confusing narrative. – The eyes of Christopher Domig convey it all – the heartbreak, the fury, the isolation, the loneliness of an illegal immigrant just trying to fit in.”
History repeats itself at 64E4 Underground. He is still mesmerizing despite the subject matter. Wearing a tux sans socks he delivers this rambling monologue for 55 minutes, meticulously rearranging the table and two chairs and interacting with a ghostlike head on a stick – sometimes crawling on the floor covered with sawdust, sometimes atop the table or underneath all the while spouting words that we try to digest.
It’s as though the poem is a giant puzzle that he is trying to put together.
One woman discreetly left about ten minutes in. Another yawned – progressively growing impatient, frustrated and fidgety. Surprisingly there were two youngsters (aged 7 – I asked). One was curled up in her mother’s lap. The young boy attentive. After the performance I asked him if he understood the play. “Some.” Did he like the acting? “Oh, yes.” There we are.
I suppose it’s never too early to introduce Eliot. Perhaps by the time he’s my age he’ll understand what’s going on.
I do hope that one day soon I see Christopher Domig in a show worthy of his talent.
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