An evening with David Mamet is never a lighthearted romp, but Balagan Theatre’s offering of Edmond was a riveting descent into the sleazy hells of urban angst. Those who had the stomach for it were rewarded with a remarkable experience delivered by skilled, thoroughly prepared young actors under the stunning direction of Lithuanian-trained Paul Budratis. Budratis also created the intimate, spare, stage space that thrust Edmond’s demons right into your lap.
The 11-member cast was superbly balanced. Sam Hagen, as Edmond, displayed an extraordinary range of ennui, rage, yearning, and naiveté. Always onstage in all 21 scenes of Edmond’s spiral into madness, he never faltered, never lost credibility of character. Colleen Carey was mesmerizing as Edmond’s wounded wife, sensitive and nuanced with a Streep-like ability to communicate volumes with a lifted chin or arching brow. When they were en scene together, Budratis always put them into counterpoint, one voluble and expressive, the other passively alienated.
Edmond, a 1983 black comedy, closed its run on Capitol Hill last Saturday, but deserves more performances. It is yet another in Balagan’s remarkable string of pearls. Recent highlights for me have been the most intimate and nuanced Othello seen in Seattle and a jolting, in-your-face Marat-Sade. Jake Groshong’s company, now in its fourth season, holds promise of becoming not just an important part of Capitol Hill's fringe theater, but also one of the brightest lights in all Seattle theater.
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