Get Cultured — April 16, 2015 at 12:45 pm

The Tailor of Inverness Starts the Brits Off Broadway Festival on a High Note

by

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A man in search for the truth about his father. A father that was a tailor in Scotland. A tailor in Scotland that came from Poland. In Poland, he grew up in a little farm, became part of the army, and spent the rest of his life on the move until he arrived in Inverness. A son that grew up in Inverness wondering what happened to the rest of his father’s history. A secret that will give him new light on who his dad was. All done with one actor, a violinist and a hell of a set.

That, my lovely readers, is whatThe Tailor of Inverness by Matthew Zajac sets to do, to tell you his story. A reflection of the migratory nature of humans, and the shifts that happen when one is exiled from his own home, Zajac takes us on a European tour of the war ravaged continent during World War II and its consequences years later. Playing both his father and himself, Zajac transforms seamlessly between the question and the answer. Daring, provocative, and intense, this production is made that much better by Aidan O’Rourke’s work in the violin. Adding tension to Zajac’s words when needed, Aidan is as part of the set as he is part of the script. Every chord struck is felt deep with in us and transports us to the world the author wants us to live in. Sometimes it soothes us and makes it easier to stomach the horrible life these people were forced into. The combination of history lesson and personal storytelling could be hard to pull off,  but Aidan’s work makes it easier to transition as it is used perfectly for emotional prompts. Zajac is ready to take those prompts and hit us hard with his pain.

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Besides the script and the amazing performances from both Zajac and O’Rourke, we have to give credit where credit is due. The direction by Ben Harrison is the final piece of this technical puzzle. He manages to create a setting with designer Ali MaClaurin, who also serves as costume designer. Their work allowed Zajac to pull off some of the most jovial choreography in the show, and ultimately dictates the pace in which the writer chooses to say his words. The work by Timothy Brinkhurst (Sound Designer,) Kai Fischer (Lighting Designer,) and Tim Reid (Video Designer) is what helps the atmosphere change between times, and makes it smooth for people to understand and follow what’s going on.

Having said that, while the play is an incredibly well put affair, I didn’t felt as connected to the piece as I wish I could. I ended up admiring it more than liking it. Maybe it’s the disconnection between cultures, but I found myself wondering when it would end. And in truth that’s my only problem with this production, disconnect or not, there’s a lot more to admire than to be entertained by. It has to do a lot with its broken pace, as it makes the story a little hard to follow in some moments, and then the audience starts trying to play catch up.

But that’s just a nit-pick in what is a play that needs to be watched. You will take something from it, no matter where you are from or what your story. Between the performances, the designs, the music, and the evocative atmosphere there’s too much to like to miss it. “THE TAILOR OF INVERNESS” will be playing from April 14th through May 3rd as part of the BRITS OFF BROADWAY festival going on 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59 St., New York, NY.) I recommend you see with your own eyes what Matthew Zajac has to say. It might have not been entirely for me, but it will touch in a way you will never forget.

My rating for this play is:

fourstars

 

*All images via Tim Morozzo

Twisted Talk: Have you seen any Brits Off Broadway productions? What’s the last Off Broadway show you’ve seen? Discuss below!

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