Review by G. L. Horton
Copyright © 2002 Geralyn Horton.

Golda's Balcony
by William Gibson
Shakespeare & Co. at Tremont Theatre

Quick Takes on . . .

I have to admit upfront: What I most love about theatre is not so much the acting as the reacting--the way that a play can capture the complex permutations within an interlocking set of relationships over time. I prefer large cast plays to small ones, and I do not like one-person shows, period. Yes, I've performed two of Rosanna Alfaro's monodramas, enjoying them tremendously, and written six of the seductive things myself. But as an audience member I find them unsatisfying. The solo character is shown off or shown up, the actor likewise; as spectator I feel conned, or complicit.

However, Annette Miller in Golda's Balcony proved to be the exception. The shear acting power manifested on the Tremont Theatre stage was uncanny, but thanks to the guiding hand of director Daniel Gidron I never for a moment felt that the acting or the character was on display for its own sake. Actor, author, and audience; we had come together to understand this character because it is a matter of life and death for us. By understanding her we may better understand our singular selves and our still tribal world. Gibson has fashioned a Golda who is a force-- not of nature, but of human nature-- because she can say "we" with utter assurance; and because she believes that the survival of a particular ideal "we" is of absolute value, more important than the survival of individuals, she is able to lead people to extraordinary effort and sacrifice. Miller's towering performance, while it has a few deft touches of impersonation, succeeds because the actress is able to re-create and embody that huge primitive almost impersonal force we recognize as leadership.

However, because we recognize leadership doesn't mean that the play insists that have to approve of it. I don't think that anyone who goes in to Golda's Balcony thinking that Zionism was a bad idea will come out of it a convert. For every "we" there is an implied "they", and Gibson's script makes it easy to imagine the same sort of passionate intelligence at work on the other side, conspiring to survive and uniting to prevail whatever the cost. And Golda's Balcony certainly makes clear what the cost may be: a nuclear exchange that exterminates "us" and "them" alike.

Shakespeare & Co. at Tremont Theatre, Jan. 3 - Feb. 22. (866) 637 - 3353.


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