Vortex Theater Company
IN DELIRIUM: after the sorrows of young werther
Adapted from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s
THE SORROWS OF YOUNG WERTHER
Adapted, Created and Directed by GISELA CARDENAS
Adapted, Created and Performed by JOSHUA RANDALL
Sanford Meisner Theater, 164 Eleventh Ave., NYC, March 31 through April 23, 2006
Set Design JIAN JUNG
Costumes OANA BOTEZ-BAN
Lights LUCREZIA BRICENO
Sound JOHN IVY
Press Representative JIM BALDASSARE
IN DELIRIUM is one of those seemingly spare presentations that speaks volumes about the human condition. In this case, a fascinating peek into the mind of a young man obsessed with a woman he cannot have. Far from frightening stalker, Joshua Randall portrays Werther as a man so taken with the details and minutia of his love, Lotte, that one quickly understands that, from his point of view at least, the course his life takes makes complete sense.
At the beginning of IN DELIRIUM, young artist Werther is positive, upbeat and showing all the signs that he is just a little bit manic. Once introduced to Lotte, whom he knows from the start is betrothed to another, Werther descends by steps into despair and aimlessness. He obsesses, he visits, he leaves town, he laments, he spirals downward, and in the end he makes a fatal decision. Not a new tale, to be sure, but so well conjured here that it seems fresh.
Joshua Randall’s engaging performance is supported by Gisela Cardenas’ fast-paced direction and Jian Jung’s utterly appropriate set consisting of a fallen chandelier and a chair. At times the use of the chair as a prop felt intrusive, but the constant image of the sad, sunken chandelier was an inspired selection. Notable too are Lucrezia Briceno’s stark lighting and Oana Botez-Ban’s simple yet appropriate costumes.
An interesting side note to the frenetic 75 minutes that is IN DELIRIUM is the fact that the source material, Goethe’s 1774 THE SORROWS OF YOUNG WERTHER, was both embraced and banned. Werther’s fate apparently inspired other tormented young men of the age to copy their hero’s solution to intense melancholy.
IN DELIRIUM is recommended. Come to see the performance. Come and find out what all the fuss was about.
- Kessa De Santis -