There is something about being trapped in transit with a stranger who has a story to tell and how mesmerizing it can be and often, how personal it can become.
Thatâ€™s the way it is in "The Kreutzer Sonata," the haunting one-man adaptation of a Leo Tolstoy novella that opened at Renaissance Theaterworks over the weekend.
James Pickering, one of the finest actors this or any other city has ever seen, is Pozdynyshev, acquitted by a jury and newly freed from prison, traveling in a cabin on a train bound for somewhere and coming from somewhere.
His tale is frank and shocking and brutally honest and, just like in real life, we canâ€™t stop listening. Itâ€™s a story that makes you hope it will go on forever.
It is the story of man and woman and love and obsession and jealousy and shameless pleasure of the flesh and the role we all play in our own undoing.
The story begins with a narrative of his life as a roving bachelor. He is erudite and collected and full of good humor as the vagaries of sexual conquest pile one atop the other. His memory is accurate and full of detail, and we are whisked along on this endless journey of conquest followed by abandonment.
And then, unexpectedly, on a boat, he met a "wide-eyed creature with the amber curls" and he became, of all things, a husband. She, a wife. The glory of it was surprising, despite an occasional hiccup in the early going.
He had kept a detailed diary of his years of semi-debauchery and, wanting no secrets to exist between him and his bride, he gave her the five volumes. There was nothing about him that he didnâ€™t want her to know.
"As it turned out, there were some things about me she didnâ€™t want to know," he says, as she retreated for two days of tears in their bedroom.
From that moment on, knowing as we do that there is a crime in this story, the march toward that evil begins. Unabated we are taken through their five children, her withdrawal from the world, his purchase of a piano and her playing to brin…Read more...