*Last Weekend !
- *Last Weekend !
Farmyard Last Planet Theatre, 351 Turk; 440-3050,
www.lastplanettheatre.com. $10-18. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through April 1.
Last Planet Theater presents Franz Xaver Kroetz's exploration of
love and suffering amid a bleak, isolating landscape of poverty.
Kroetz (who in the 1970s was Germany's most performed living
playwright) lays his harsh yet beguiling story on a modest American
family farm. There, Beppi (a remarkable Heidi Wolff), the retarded
teenage daughter of the farmer (Richard Aiello) and his wife (Emma
Victoria Glauthier), falls in love with the aging farmhand, a
drifter named Sepp (Garth Petal), who has seduced her with stories.
When Beppi becomes pregnant, the farmer takes retribution on Sepp's
beloved black shadow of a dog (Hilde Susan Jaegtnes) before turning
to his wife for help solving the problem of their daughter. The
plot, wrapped in silences, is bone simple, but its reverberations
are subtle, strange, and unsettling just as Kroetz's meek
characters convey a rich presence while rarely managing to do more
than spit out a few brusque phrases. Silence, in fact, is a
principal subject: the silence of moral judgment; the absence of any
voice beyond the inexorable force of life itself. Strong, focused
performances, and director John Wilkins' fine staging (which
includes the Godard-like jarringly lush, sophisticated jazz vocal
score) keep the perfect pulse below the deceptively still surfaces