Theatre Review; Marathon

On the face of it, this play is simply a series of exchanges between two men who are in training to enter the New York Marathon later in the year.

By

Presented by Adapt Enterprises Pty Ltd
Reviewed 29 July, 2017

“Look at us… doing something that has no sense! We know that it has no sense, but we’re doing it just the same”, says Ross Vosvotekas’s character early in the play. After an hour, the two actors who have been effectively jogging and speaking non-stop during the show take their bows, then perform a little Mediterranean folk dance together before exiting the stage. The Italian flavour comes from the show’s origins – a play entitled “Maratona di New York” by Rome-based Edoardo Erba. This English translation by Colin Teevan works very well indeed; it never sounds like a translation. The elegance of the story unfolds gradually with a satisfying theatrical quality. 

On the face of it, this play is simply a series of exchanges between two men who are in training to enter the New York Marathon later in the year. Much Adidas is worn. The pair discuss life, the universe, competitiveness, women, freedom of choice and mind-over-matter. One runner is focussed, phlegmatic, and almost monomaniacal in pursuit of his goals.  He runs with economic ease. The other runner is easily distracted, foul-mouthed and constantly questioning the purpose of running. His running style tends to the shambling, with untidy arms and an inconsistent gait.  The two actors clearly differentiate the physical differences between their characters; the bodies are windows into the souls of these two men.

This is, at heart, a metaphysical piece, where day-to-day realities take on numinous significance. Adam Cirillo (as Marco) and Ross Vosvotekas (as Stefano) tease, abuse, encourage and challenge each other as they jog side-by-side. It is evident that both Cirillo and Vosvotekas  have worked at preparing themselves for the physical challenges involved in an hour’s jogging-and-acting.  What needed more attention was vocal management. Although both actors were readily heard and understood, there was far too much yelling, with Cirillo being the main offender.  Continual yelling stops the emotional content of the text from being assimilated by the audience. O how we longed for nuance. The performance was in Australian accent, but with an almost holy avoidance of terminal “g” (e.g.,  runnin’, thinkin’, bein’).  I suspect that the intention of this choice was to help us see these men as The Common Bloke; the net result was a coarsening of the otherwise finely-drawn characterisations in the text.

With one of these hard-working actors (Vosvotekas) listed as Director and the other (Cirillo) as Assistant Director, what this production desperately needed was a director’s eye and ear.

Reviewed by Pat. H. Wilson

Venue:  Studio Theatre, at Bakehouse Theatre
Season: 26th  July – 6th August, 2017
Duration:  60 minutes
Tickets:  Full Price: $30:00 Concession: $25:00
Bookings: www.bakehousetheatre.com

 

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