Critics Debate Serling's Work
Michael Schaldemose as the ex-nazi who
returns to Dachau to be met by camp prisoner
Michael Wener in Death's Head Revisited
|Submitted For Your
Two vastly differing viewpoints
Each review reflects an attitude that the
There are no easy answers; not here,
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The Twilight Zone - with its small, surreal stories - has been transferred to a city stage to great effect.
The Way Off Broadway Group, founded in Vancouver in 1988, has acquired stage rights to four episodes in the classic Rod Serling TV series and is presenting them at the Station Street Arts Centre.
The show is directed by Michael Wener, who appears in three of the episodes and created the music - an eclectic mix of jazz and electronic elements - that runs through the piece.
The episodes are:
Lighting, by Eduardo Meneses is intelligent, varied and intriguing throughout. There are mottled patches cast on a dark floor; an intense spotlight on a crumpled, writhing figure; light filtered through a shifting haze; and an eerie red for the Nazi confrontation.
For someone like myself, particularly interested in the visual aspects of theatre, this lighting was an added boon.
It's unfortunate that productions at this funky Main Street space don't attract more attention. On opening night the audience was distressingly small. This production deserves to be seen.
It continues to Nov. 16. Show time is 8:30 p.m.
Sun Theatre Critic
The idea of taking episodes of Rod Serling's television series The Twilight Zone and staging them straight up would itself seem to have come out of the twilight zone. What brave thing will the Way Off Broadway group do next? Staged productions of Leave It to Beaver and Father Knows Best?
This small company produced The Twilight Zone at the recent Vancouver Fringe Festival and took it on the fringe circuit across the country, aggressively boasting that it was the first company to be granted the stage rights to these vintage Serling shows.
How much competition could there have been?
What could have been so appealing about putting TV—old TV at that—on the stage?
They don't treat the four episodes they chose in any way but literally and they don't send them up. It's like Elvis impersonation, except that Elvis is a legend worth impersonating. Why not write new material?
Why Serling? What a strange thing to commemorate: Rod Serling with his hack script-writer shaggy dog fantasies and his deadweight sermonizing disguised as the "macabre." It's not just that this stuff has dated. Most of it would have been terrible in 1162, let alone 1962.
The best thing you can say is that you don't get the commercials. Otherwise, verisimilitude is complete: the voice-overs, the murky lighting and the theme music. It's hard to say anything about the acting, because even some of this is authentic.
The four episodes have to do with: a man who meets a strange druggist who gives him a love potion that, of course, turns out to be a curse; a niece who has to observe a strange codicil in the will of her cruel scientist-uncle; a rocketeer who crash-lands on an alien planet to meet a futuristic Eve; and an ex-Nazi who returns to Dachau (a favorite Serling theme).
Michael Schaldemose is a good enough actor to make you almost overlook the material he's involved with. He just throws himself into it like a professional swimmer on a cross-channel job. June Pentyliuk and Rhonda Schultz aren't bad either. Peter Hanlon and Michael Wener (the director) tsk, there's that pesky snow on the screen.