The Dog in the Manger
Beware Jealousy: In Others,
It Can Drive You Crazy
By Lope de Vega, translation by David Johnston
Shakespeare Theatre Company, Lansburgh Theatre, Washington, D.C.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Directed by Jonathan Mumby
A production transferred from the RSC but with an American cast (including Broadway veterans in the leads), this play was written in 1613 as part of the Spanish Golden Age of Theater. The translation, though, is thoroughly modern, and the humor wholly accessible of a noble woman, Diana, who makes a romantic yo-yo of her servant, Teodoro, depending on his relationship with another servant in the house, Marcela, who turns out to be the noblewoman's illegitimate half sister. Jealousy feeds Diana's love, and much of the comedy derived from Teodoro's ongoing vexation at his hot-cold-hot mistress.
More broader comedy came in the form of Teodoro's own servant, Tristan, who wa, depending on the situation, a layabout and a schemer, taking on various personas and accents from Scottish to pidgin-Greek. He drove the plot resolution—a little too pat, perhaps, but it supported the play's conflicting treatise between the merits of honor and true love.
David Turner played Tristan, matched in comic playing by Jonathan Hammond as the foppish suitor Marquis Ricardo. Michael Hayden and Michelle Hurd were by turns passionate, fierce, and funny in their portrayals of Teodoro and Diana, respectively. Another shout-out goes to Julie Craig, a singer providing a haunting soundtrack for much of the action. This was a strong troupe working in a beautiful set by Alexander Dodge where the walls truly seemed to have ears and eyes.
March 29, 2009