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    Resa Fantastiskt Mystisk

    Mattsun stroke

    "Resa Fantastiskt Mystisk" is a bold new interpretation of the classic Swedish drama that's been . . . no, no, we're not even going to tell you.


    "Resa Fantastiskt Mystisk" is so wonderful that you want to tell everybody about it and yet so deviously clever that you don't want to spoil a thing for future playgoers by describing it. Here, then, are some details so irrelevant to the play's true nature that you'll have to actually go see it to know what I'm going on about.

    Company: Burglars of Hamm.
    Written by: Lars Mattsun.
    Cast: Carolyn Almos, Matt Almos, John Beauregard, Joel Marshall, Todd Merrill, Katharine Noon, Victor Ortado, Laura Otis, Selina Smith.
    Adapted and interpreted by: Todd Merrill.

    Related links: Official site
    Present Company Theatorium
    198 Stanton Street
    Fringe Festival 2002, Aug. 9-25, 2002

    Fringe Festival 2002

    • Show listings

    • All American Boy
    • Beat
    • Confessions of an Art School Model
    • Deviant
    • The Joys of Sex
    • Living London
    • Naked Girls Drinking
    • Out to Lunch
    • Portrait of a President
    • Refugees
    • Resa Fantastiskt Mystisk
    • Room to Swing an Axe
    • Sajjil
    • Star
    • Seeing Each Other
    • Up Your Rabbit Hole
    • The Welcoming Committee

    • ASPIC
    • Stalking Christopher Walken
    • Wet Blue and Friends

    Other Fringe Festivals
    • Fringe 2000
    • Fringe 2001
    The play is the work of Lars Mattsun, a turn-of-the-century Swedish dramatist who, although I had not heard of him before, is said to have inspired the likes of August Strindberg. Brimming with symbolism and well-scrubbed blond actors, it tells the story of Philip, an artist who fights the wishes of his domineering mother that he give up painting and marry the thoroughly adequate Mariah. Yet, the bride-to-be (whose hands are bandaged in this production due to some disfigurement that I didn't catch the reason for) pales in comparison to a sprite-like angel who appears to Philip in a dream and declares him her "songmate," guiding him to his true destiny. What will he ultimately choose — obeying the demands of his family, following his artistic passion, or some much darker fate?

    Although, frankly, some might consider the acting uneven (as the director himself admitted in a post-performance Q&A the night I was there), the ensemble attacks the piece with such originality that it ultimately becomes a celebration of the magic — as well as the frustrations and occasionally the unintentionally funny moments of sheer serendipity that some might uncharitably describe as "mistakes" — that can happen only in live theater. It is hard to say who ultimately gets the best of this encounter — the company or Mattsun himself.

    Even if the Scandinavian temperament leaves you cold, even if high-flown speeches and heavy symbolism usually strike you as impenetrable pomposity, even if you consider anything predating "Rent" unbearably stodgy and dull, do yourself a favor and see this production of "Resa Fantastiskt Mystisk." It is all of these things and none of them. I promise, it is theater taken to a level you never expected.

    AUGUST 16, 2002

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