Light theatrical comedies in the manner of Beau Jest have always been around and they always will be. Reliable crowd-pleasers, they don't expect much cerebral input from the audience and deliver the happy ending their supporter's desire. But Sherman's play sinks beneath light, into a form of dramatic vapidity that crops up with more and more frequency these days. If audiences must have their eyelids forced open to watch something, then they should look backward to the days of substance over style, like early Neil Simon. With this much sounder product from the past as an example, new writers can finally move forward again and create even minor pieces with original wit and literary value. Otherwise, today's hits won't even merit tomorrow's fishwrappings.
Although it played for just one night at the Colony Theater under the sponsorship of Cultura del Lobo (of Miami-Dade Community College) and the Miami Book Fair International, "Silenced Women Poets of Russia" deserves this written standing ovation, in case the show passes this way again in its U.S. tour. Two of the world's finest actresses A Claire Bloom and Russia's premier talent, Alla Demidova A told the life stories and read from the actual works of two forgotten female voices, that of Marina Tsvetayeva (1892-1941) and Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966). The former poet hanged herself out of loneliness when her family was imprisoned; the extent of her pain and capacity for love seethes from each of her verses. Using to full advantage the finely honed vocal skills and elegant acting artistry of Bloom and Demidova, plus the musical gifts of singer Charlotte Hellkant and pianist Brian Zegler, these brilliant, delicate verses took new life on the Colony stage and introduced a generation of Americans to stirring words too long silenced.