Friday, February 9, 2001
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Posted on: Friday, February 9, 2001

Stage Review
'Dream-Tease' a series of bizarre events

By Joseph T. Rozmiarek
Advertiser Drama Critic

The remarkable insight behind the current Late Night production at the University of Hawaii Earle Ernst Lab Theatre is that absurdist writers survived (at least for a time) even in Stalinist Russia.

The Old Woman, left, Alma Pasic, confronts the main character, Marcus Hoapili, about the fact that time is passing as he procrastinates on his current book.

Lynn L. Mayekawa/Kennedy Theatre

"Dream-Tease" is the collective title for dramatized short stories by Daniil Kharms (1905-42), translated by George Gibian, and adapted for this premiere performance by director Elmira Tereshchenko. Before dying in a Russian prison, Kharms wrote verse, drama and children’s stories, and founded a literary group devoted to futuristic themes and black humor.

The preponderance of the hour-long lab production is based on his short story, "The Old Woman."

Tereshchenko uses story theater techniques to bring the piece to the stage. The central character is played by two actors: Marcus Hoapili acts out the experiences of the story’s writer, while Jeremy Pippin narrates his "inner voice."


10:45 p.m. today and tomorrow, Earle Ernst Lab Theatre

Tickets: $7, with some discounts available, 956-7655

The two men often speak in unison and, while Hoapili walks through the action, Pippin circles him like a dependent satellite, peppering us with color commentary like an emotional sports announcer.

The rest of the cast takes on supporting roles which, in this narrative, are more pantomime than dialogue.

The title character (Alma Pasic) wears a lumpish face mask and shapeless overcoat. She follows the writer to his small room, demands entrance and dies there during the night. The rest of the story follows the writer’s attempts to dispose of her body.

This could be early material for a Steve Martin or a Chevy Chase — a plot where the proponent’s reaction to a series of bizarre events provides the major interest. It ends without explanation in a bog of juniper bushes — its meaning to be supplied by the beholder.

There are a couple of grace notes to the production: its set of unfinished, rough platforms and its inspired opening

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