note: entire contents copyright 2005 by Beverly Creasey
We all know that laughter is the best medicine, so fire your shrink and rush to the Zeitgeist Theatre for the cure. Steve Barkhimer, who gave one of the best comic performances last season as Tiger Brown (in New Rep’s THREEPENNY OPERA) gives the funniest performance so far this year as a slightly demented (or is that like being slightly pregnant?), R.D. Laing-quoting psychiatrist in BLUE/ORANGE. Joe Penhall’s wacky, and surprisingly sardonic play about mental health is really OLEANNA with a funny bone. Insights and instigations are taken out of context and niftily turned against their psychoanalytic owners. We are left to wonder who’s sicker, the shrinks or the “borderline” schizophrenic they’re fighting over.
Barkhimer’s not so hidden agenda is to move patients out of hospital as fast as possible while Eric Hamel as the psych resident wants to keep his patient in therapy so he can effect a breakthrough. Dorian Christian Baucum gives a silky performance as the cagey patient, playing both sides against the middle. David Miller directs with a sure hand, speeding the play through its paces so quickly you won’t notice the time. BLUE/ORANGE has some thoughtful things to say about institutional racism as well as the state of sanity in the present world. And what could be more fun than watching pompous psychiatrists being taken to task?