Mr. Bengt’s Wife at The Gene Frankel Theatre

Swedish playwright August Strindberg’s play, “Mr. Bengt’s Wife”, has been translated to English for the first time and is being produced at The Gene Frankel Theatre.  Rebellious Margit, an orphan, longs to be set free from the convent where she is living.  Her “knight” comes to sweep her away into married bliss.  At first she is happy but as time passes, riches turn to ashes, love turns to anger and resentment and things are all turned upside down.

The large, bright blue box on wheels acted as a frame and made a nice set piece.  The characters moved it around the stage to function as a home, convent, and room.  The confusing aspect was, why are people stepping through the box?  It seemed people were walking through walls when they did that.  A sheer curtain was ever present.  At times a few chairs and a desk were used but mostly lighting and acting were what the audience was invited to focus on and rightfully so.

Margit played by Kerstie Brian was a strong willed woman and appeared in almost every scene.  Her stamina was incredible and she did a memorable job with her role.  Of the three men that were all vying for her attention, the baliff, played by Shawn Fagan, was the strongest actor.  He was conniving and weaseled his way into her mind until she finally realized in the second act his trickery and nasty ways.  Samm Todd, a young actress, did a wonderful job with her multiple roles.  The six person cast worked well together and brought this story to life.

The show is somewhat dismal yet interesting.  Be prepared, the theater itself is small and seats are uncomfortable.  However, cookies and tea are provided free of charge at intermission which will perk you up a bit.  For more information on the show check out: http://www.strindberg.org/page41/

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