Now at the BCA’s Plaza Black Box Theatre Zeitgeist Stage is presenting the East Coast premiere of five short plays by Tony Kushner called TINY KUSHNER. If only the plays were as succinct as that title; they’re short all right, but the word count is long. Pultizer Prize winning dramatist Tony Kushner — famed for ANGELS IN AMERICA and his prolixity–does go on, and his works require actors who are facile enough to seamlessly handle the vast canvas of characters they are required to summon up or even suggest: from Shakespeare to Hitler, Doestoyevsky to George W. Bush. Kushner’s gift is to observe and explore the brutal ironies of contemporary life, and wickedly dramatize the bitter and transformative truth…no matter how curious the route. And so there are odd bedfellows in otherworldly situations: we find Queen Geraldine of Albania and Opera singer Lucia Pamela meeting in the afterlife on the moon. Then there’s Nixon’s therapist in analysis in the afterlife with a major Jewish Angel, and so on.
A nimble cast is in order, but they’re in short supply here. With the exception of the adroit Maureen Adduci, the evening plays like a series of acting exercises. The best piece is the last with the aforementioned Maureen Adduci playing Laura Bush reading THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV to a classroom full of the ghosts of dead Iraqi children killed in the bombings commissioned by her husband, good ole GW. The ironies are painful, and Adduci rings every last bit of moral, psychological, spiritual, and political discomfort– and yes humanity– out of this brilliantly discomfiting scenario. It’s the best of TINY KUSHNER and may be worth the whole LONG evening. Through 10/22.