the witty and heart-warming drama
VISITING MR. GREEN
by Jeff Baron
“Visiting Mr. Green” by Jeff Baron, currently enjoying a successful run at Vienna ‘s English Theatre was awarded the European Culture prize in 2001 for being “a lesson in toleration and acceptance in regard to minorities”. The play, performed for the first time in 1996 in Massachusetts , has as its themes the life of the Jews, discrimination as the result of prejudice, the generation gap and homosexuality, all of which are presented in exciting, intelligent dialogue. Intuition and great attention to detail stamp the direction of Rex Garner who also plays the part of the loveable Mr. Green while Aaron Serotsky plays the likeable Ross Gardiner. They give us a moving theatre experience. Garner’s message is that understanding and acceptance of the other is possible even if the process can be painful. This is true of Ross Gardiner as well who learns to accept his own identity. It is impressive how successfully the two actors demonstrate the problems of our society, thereby acting as a stimulus for discussion.
Brilliant actors in a play that has been awarded several prizes – what can possibly go wrong when, at Vienna’s English Theatre, Ross Gardiner breaks in on the life of Mr. Green? (…) Rex Garner who directs the play is brilliant in the role of the obstinate and taciturn old man who lives in a world of Jewish traditions, without television, credit card or telephone. Unsurpassed is the cynicism of the old man which lends the play exceptional humour. Aaron Serotsky, who makes his first appearance on an European stage, is clearly at home in the role of Ross. With ease he plays the tough businessman who slowly reveals himself to his new friend so that finally both profit from the fact that Ross Gardiner almost ran over Mr. Green.
To match the brilliant acting performances of Fritz Muliar and Michael Dangl in the same play in the Josefstadt is no easy task but Jeff Baron’s tragic-comic play was acclaimed by the audience at Vienna’s English Theatre for a finely shaped performance. One outcast, young and successful, meets up with another outcast, old and lonely. Both are Jews. Ross, the young man, played by Aaron Serotsky confides to the older man that he is homosexual. The difficulties of coping with the divergent tabus and values of two different generations spark off the trenchant dialogue. Enchanting and captivating – Rex Garner in the human depth of his portrayal of the touchy old man who, although imprisoned in the safe world of his own ego, is able to reach out to acquire tolerance.
KURIER – Wertung: *****