“The Trial Of Dali” — A Good Argument for Reinstating the Death Penalty

By Ernest Kearney  —  The Drama Theatre Fantazja from Sydney, Australia arrived at the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2019 with an international cast and a beautifully produced staging of The Trial of Dali by playwright Andy Kolo.

The play presents the difficulties Dali (James Domeyko) and his wife Gala (Jolanta Szewczyk) faced when they returned from their wartime exile in New York to Franco’s fascist Spain in 1948.

Now part of my problem here was I was unaware of any difficulties he faced.   I knew that Dalí had praised Franco for atrocities he had committed during the Spanish Civil War and afterwards to quote Dali, “clearing Spain of destructive forces.”  I also knew that Dali had painted a portrait of the dictator’s grandchild (or niece I can’t recall), and that George Orwell, a dedicated anti-fascist had said,

“One ought to be able to hold in one’s head simultaneously the two facts that Dalí is a good draughtsman and a disgusting human being.”

My research, contrary to the play, turned up no evidence of Dali facing any obstacles on his return to Franco’s Spain.

But this is not really a problem.

Macbeth was a much beloved ruler whose reign of twenty years was peaceful and prosperous, and Becket, as Jean Anouilh learned after he wrote the play, was a Norman like Henry II and not a Saxon.

Good theatre does not depend on granite fidelity to the “truth.”

It does depend on a crafted script, skillful direction and solid acting none of which, sadly The Trial of Dali possesses.

A well-executed stage design by Vitek Skonieczny and Nicolas Suricic and a stirring violin intro by young Sebastian Banasiak-Adaji lead only to disappointment; a script that is neither absurdist nor engaging, where characters seem to be introduced for sheer name power (Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol, Picasso), direction that is unfocused and meandering, with acting that is…well more like people standing on a stage than actual acting.

It is not the mélange of international accents presented here but the apparent lack of craft.  Two of the performers were inaudible to me and my lovely wife Marlene, and we were sitting in the second row.

The only survivors were Domeyko who captured the self-absorption of the artist perfectly and Sam Davey who menaced the artist with believable threat. bronze ribbon - Fringe Festival

Domeyko, Davey and young Sebastian salvaged The Trial of Dali for –

A BRONZE MEDAL


 

For Updated Show Information: http://hff19.org/6195

 

Learn more about  The Polish Drama Theatre “Fantazja” at www.teatrfantazja.org/

 

For Events, Plays and Other Fun Fringe News and Info: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/


Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. After a wild and misspent youth, which lasted well into middle age, Kearney has settled down and is focusing on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. Ernest’s stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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