Krankenhaus Blues is a mixed bag. There are some incredibly poignant moments hidden in some meandering, nonsensical ones. However, it is rarely boring and the good moments outnumber the bizarre. And even the bizarre ones aren’t bad… they’re just bizarre.
There really isn’t a plot to
relate, as the show is broken into vignettes; some monologues, some tiny
scenes. There are three characters – the Jewish writer, Bruno (Bill Green), a crippled singer, Anka (Christine
Bruno) and a limping clown, Fritz (Joe
Sims). Bruno mostly has monologues about being a Jewish, single writer in
The show is about loneliness and disconnecting from the world. There are many topics touched upon that the average theatergoer might not enjoy – incest, genocide, bestiality, etc – but those who enjoy pushed envelopes, will enjoy them. It obviously takes a certain sensibility to enjoy the line “I want to fuck my dead father.”
All three actors were exquisite, impassioned and committed to the intensity of the script. They made the audience care about them, which really helped to sell the piece. One of the best parts of the show was the accompaniment on violin by Helen Yee. Having a live violinist added a layer of melancholy, while the music helped to transcend the melodrama.
Donna Mitchell made good use of the intimate space. The pacing and energy onstage worked very well. Technically, the show worked fine. Kimi Maeda’s set and costumes were functional, as was Paul A. Jepson’s lighting design.
One of the song titles is “An Existential Lament.” That title sums up the play exactly. As with all laments, there is much rambling, but when an epiphany breaks through, it is worth the wait. As Bruno says off-handedly at one point, the play is “all over the place, but has some good stuff in it.” So, it is definitely worth seeing Krankenhaus Blues if you can relate to the lonely existence most New Yorkers face daily and have the sensibility to enjoy some obscene topics.
Lighting: 2/Sound: 1
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Copyright 2006 Seth Bisen-Hirsh