Pantagleize -Susan Tsu


PANTAGLEIZE, adapted by Jay Ball from the Michel de Ghelderode 1929 “farce to make you sad,” was produced by Pittsburgh’s Quantum Theatre in April, 2014. Staged at the dusty, abandoned Lexington Technology Center, the cavernous warehouse space invited the audience to share the vast, stony space with strange and wonderful actors reminiscent of Allen Ginsberg in the mid-1960’s, denizens of the Occupy movement, a hardened revolutionary and her nemesis-the crazed dictator who is her twin brother, and deceased world leaders: Idi Amin, Augusto Pinochet, Margaret Thatcher, and Muammar Ghadaffi. Actors inhabited offices, a space above the offices, echoing back rooms, and they performed from within the audience. Director – Jed Allen Harris and Costume Designer- Susan Tsu worked closely with Ball during the creation of the text.

Producer                 Quantum Theatre, AD- Karla Boos

Adaption                 Jay Ball

Director                  Jed Allen Harris

Scene Design           Tony Ferrieri

Costume Design        Susan Tsu

Lighting Design         C. Todd Brown

Sound Design           Elizabeth Atkinson

Video Design            Kevin Ramser 

Revolutions are tricky business. As we’ve seen in recent years, in the example of the Arab Spring, the Syrian conflict, and even recent events in the Ukraine, revolutions inspire hope and optimism. Yet when their aims get muddied, their motives become sullied by realpolitik, and they devolve into chaos, violence, and endless bouts of recrimination and revenge, they also engender confusion, cynicism, and despair. A revolution shines light on the oppressiveness of totalitarian regimes and provokes our individual sympathy for the people who suffer under those regimes; at the same time, it often also reveals the complicity of our own national foreign policy in keeping those regimes in power in the name of regional stability. Contradictions abound, and it’s often nigh impossible to figure out, in a given context, who the “good” and “bad” guys are, especially when there are many ideologically opposed factions working together temporarily to topple an unpopular dictator. Moreover, revolutions in other places – or even close to home, in the form of “Occupy,” for example – raise uncomfortable questions about the extent to which our own freedoms and democratic institutions are under threat from repressive forces that are imperceptibly eroding what we consider basic rights. Pantagleize – Jay Ball’s smart adaptation of Michel de Ghelderode’s 1929 play of the same name – is a deeply cynical, outrageously comic, and highly provocative play about such challenges and contradictions of democratic revolutions.

By Wendy Arons For the Pittsburgh Tatler  April 13, 2014