Toxic misogyny meets its match at Aurora Theatre in Berkeley


There’s an almost nonstop barrage of misogyny on display in “Creditors,” the August Strindberg drama playing at Berkeley’s Aurora Theater Company in a new adaptation by David Greig, the Scottish playwright whose mass shooting drama “The Events” was recently produced at both the Curran and Shotgun Players.

A new friend has wormed his way into the confidence of Adolph, an insecure and suggestible young painter, and proceeds to chip away at the confidence in his wife, his art and his life. But mostly in his wife, to whom he’s utterly devoted.

Jonathan Rhys Williams’ Gustave speaks with a chillingly calm, seemingly friendly confidence, but everything he says is venomous, at first subtly but soon less so. He keeps coming back to the idea that men shaping women is the natural order of things, and any independence on the part of a wife is inherently emasculating. As Adolph’s older wife Tekla is extremely independent and strong-minded, much more so than he is, and flirtatious by nature, Gustave insists she’s making a fool of him.

Joseph Patrick O’Malley compellingly portrays Adolph’s descent from a adoring and wryly self-effacing sense of relative contentment to a jittery, jealous frenzy as Gustave skillfully twists every chatty confession into poison for his heart. Why Gustave is doing this is a matter for later on, but he does it deftly and utterly without mercy.

Gustave’s philosophy isn’t easily dismissed as being simply of its time; it’s rooted in a deep contempt for women and sounds unnervingly like the kind of misogynist bile you might hear “men’s rights activists” on Twitter spewing today. The title itself, a metaphor leaned on heavily in dialogue, is predicated on an entitled sense of being owed something.

Rebecca Dines is a breath of fresh air as Tekla when she finally arrives, charismatic, playful and keenly perceptive. Even …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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