The Potomac Theatre Project revives Howard Barker's epic about the combustible relationship between the artist and the state, and the power and responsibility of the artist. More…
Brilliant Hungarian political cartoonist Bela Veracek flees his home country at the end of WWI to the newly emergent Soviet Union and, later, to England. He's constantly at odds with both the governments he lampoons and the newspapers that admire his talent but expect conformity and absolute submission. Performed in Repertory with 'Good.'
"Barker rehearses events in the life of Bela that support the main character’s conflict and move the plot forward in engaging and challenging ways – raising rich and enduring questions throughout...Under Romagnoli’s taut and considered direction, each member of the ensemble cast delivers powerfully authentic performances...Only one caveat: Barker’s words are so powerful, so incisive, one must listen carefully and be sure not to miss a moment of the action they generate on stage." Full Review
"Potomac Theatre Project loves this piece: It appeared in the first season 30 years ago, and I saw its very fine 2007 revival. 'No End' feels even keener this time. Romagnoli has sanded away rough edges, leaving superb performances, particularly David Barlow as Bela’s longtime friend and Valerie Leonard as a va-va-voomy apparatchik. Draper, magnificently precise, returns to a role that could have been written for him." Full Review
"A play by Howard Barker, like a gourmet meal, is challenging, eloquent, original, sometimes raw, occasionally over rich, and always worth the experience…Alex Draper (Bela) is terrific in an unremittingly complex role...David Barlow admirably embodies Grigor...Director and company Co-Artistic Director, Richard Romagnoli, has done a superb job...Pacing is excellent. One only wishes younger company members could be restrained and that accents were more consistent." Full Review
"In a mesmerizing performance, Alex Draper gives us a Bela who is fiery, funny, contemplative yet explosive...Mr. Barker has given us a lot to think about in 'No End of Blame' whether we’re inclined to view this as a personal drama, a political revelation, or a question of art. And the director Richard Romagnoli and the PTP/NYC has done an excellent job of presenting its many facets to us engagingly." Full Review
"It charts the life of Hungarian political cartoonist Bela in a meaningfully sympathetic way without succumbing to sentimentality…Barker gets beyond the cliché of the uncompromising artist…Draper's performance (prominently featuring a sly smile and observant eyes) makes Vera downright likable, no easy task…We understand Vera as a tangle of contradictions, a man trying to stay honest in a world that makes it impossible." Full Review
“Barker employs historical settings to address timeless themes: the conflict between artists and government, the value of outsiders' voices in politics and culture, and the ongoing disparity in social and political power of the sexes...In his view, 'a good play puts the audience through a certain ordeal.' Romagnoli's direction minimizes that ordeal. He and his actors keep Barker's long, often didactic text moving at an admirably swift clip, avoiding tedium and the trap of seeming over-talky.” Full Review
“An interesting point is made regarding art...A cartoon can have only one interpretation. Thus a cartoon has a directness about it and may even create problems for the cartoonist...Alex Draper’s Bela is outstanding. And under Richard Romagnoli’s direction, performances are strong throughout, with the tension inherent in this fascinating play unrelenting.” Full Review
"In 'No End of Blame,' political cartoonist Bela is played with affecting assurance by Draper...Bela, as is the deliberate staple of many of Barker's plays, is morally ambiguous, likeable and unlikeable in varying measures and ego-driven yet pragmatic...The truth of his artistic conviction reveals not only the truth of art in media, but more of the man and the conflict he will be forever up against while colluding with power...The cast is excellent, especially with such challenging text." Full Review
"These are pessimistic plays, to be sure, but the productions brim with energy and humor. Both are staged simply, so that the focus stays on the texts and actors, who are impressive across the board. Company stalwart and associate artistic director Alex Draper infuses the character of Veracek with a vivid sense of pathos…Though timely, neither play is perfect…One does hope that its future seasons will include voices more directly in dialogue with the specific exigencies of our moment." Full Review
"'No End of Blame' never fully relinquishes its grip, and under Richard Romagnoli's direction, an excellent cast delivers Barker's most mordant observations with deadly accuracy. As Bela, Alex Draper provides the play with a solid anchoring center...'No End of Blame' isn't quite a total success; Barker's singular dramatic approach is too uneven, his steely point of view sometimes coming off as stentorian and alienating. But it has plenty to say to an audience in the summer of 2016." Full Review
"A tautly performed, if occasionally meandering production...'No End of Blame' is at its best when it concentrates on Bela's story. The other members of the cast make for an excellent and fine-tuned ensemble under Richard Romagnoli's astute direction. But, frustratingly, every time we become interested in any of the other characters...the thread dissipates and nearly disappears altogether...Still, the core story is well worth the tangential side trips and gives us much to ponder." Full Review
“The shock arrives at the start of Act II, when a production that was listless through much of Act I comes suddenly to life, and mostly stays that way. Thank goodness, because Alex Draper’s tender, supple lead performance had been desperate for lively company...It is as if Mr. Draper has finally been able to disappear into his character - and, oh, he is lovely.” Full Review
"It is an interesting but overall lackluster production...Romagnoli’s work with the actors is resourceful and stalwart considering the limitations of the ensemble...This play is an ambitious attempt in the vein of Tom Stoppard and David Hare of combining politics, history and the personal. If it were viewed at a conservatory and judged on that basis, this production would be fine. The potential power of the play though would be better realized in a more strongly performed incarnation." Full Review
See it if love great acting and a story that had to be told.. we saw it for the first time and are impressed by this group of actors
Don't see it if if you cant handle some serious politcal problems from the past and perhaps the future......
See it if can stay fully focus on a lot of dense material packed into the run time. Be prepared for gunshots and a lot of yelling.
Don't see it if Your not able to focus and want something light and easy. If you have a headache I suggest you go another time. It can be very loud.
See it if /for brilliant play showing conflict between artist and society thru personal history of political cartoonist at iconic 20th century moments
Don't see it if play does not catch fire til 2nd act; once it does it is weighty-poetic-mordantly funny; w/ little fanfare play/lead ADraper are marvelous
See it if similar to Oslo, much more available history on the context. Much more abstract but similar commentary on changing world politics.
Don't see it if At times too busy. You don't like multiple roles per actor. You want a concrete point of view, a hero who "believes" rather than comments.
See it if You enjoy narratives that span decades and follow one character through a large portion of his life. And political/social commentary.
Don't see it if You struggle with heavier dramas, or anything that could be described as unsettling.
See it if you like an intelligent, arrogant, honest, unlikable protagonist and/or a political story.
Don't see it if you want to see well rounded characters other than the lead, a fast paced/attention grabbing drama and intricate sets.
See it if you want to see a less-than-average production of a play by Howard Barker. Acting is generally mediocre as is the staging.
Don't see it if you do not like intelligent theatre. Also, if you do not like spotty acting. This production resembles a not-very-good college performance.
See it if you like seeing shows that are off-the-beaten track, that show a playwright's decidedly unique and non-conforming voice
Don't see it if do not like scripts that show their age (particularly in its sexism), or want a fast-paced show with a very clear meaning.
See it if you like cerebral theater which challenges your mind, has a strong point of view and excellent acting.
Don't see it if you don't like to think about what you have seen; you don't like shows in which one actor portrays multiple characters; you dislike violence
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