Theater review: 'Via Dolorosa' at the Missing Piece
First produced in 1998 in London, David Hare’s Drama Desk Award-winning solo show, “Via Dolorosa,” is a fiercely intelligent account of his 1997 visit to the Middle East and his first-hand assessment of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Of course, even though the protagonist is coyly referred to as “The Author” in the text, the play was written by Hare about Hare and originally starred Hare, so the substitution of another actor for a role so extremely personal in nature is a bit tricky. However, Southern California Jewish Repertory Theatre’s current production at the Missing Piece Theater in Burbank fortunately features transplanted Brit David Bryan Jackson, who, under the astute direction of Patricia Lee Willson, makes the piece very much his own in a performance of unwavering intensity and magnitude.
The problem lies not with Jackson’s protean performance, during which he subtly delineates several dozen characters, but in the text, which seems dated. Hare’s enduring anti-extremist viewpoint still resounds, but things change fast and mighty in the Middle East, and the fact that “Dolorosa” was written pre-9/11 undermines its historical relevance and relegates it to the realm of sociological curiosity.
-- F. Kathleen Foley
“Via Dolorosa,” Missing Piece Theater, 2811 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturday, 3 and 7 p.m. Sundays. Ends Nov. 7. $25. (800) 838-3006. www.brownpapertickets.com/event/124240. Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.
Photo: David Bryan Jackson. Credit: Sandi Stadelman