Jesse Eisenberg’s The Revisionist at The Wallis. #TheatreTuesday
In Hollywood, it is not uncommon to see a successful movie star take the leap to other creative outlets. Think no further than Jodie Foster, Steve Martin or Ethan Hawke. A newer name to join the club? Jesse Eisenberg. While he is best-loved for such zany roles in Adventureland, Rio, as well as his Academy Award nominated portrayal of Facebook mogul, Mark Zuckerberg, Eisenberg is also an extremely talented playwright. I got to see his words come to life on stage when I attended The Revisionist at The Wallis Theatre last week.The Revisionist takes us along from New York to Poland as young sci-fi writer, David (Seamus Mulcahy), has set his sights on his Polish cousin’s flat, Maria (Deanna Dunagan). Maria is a survivor of the holocaust and we can immediately feel her loneliness within her home as she anxiously awaits some company and quality time with David.
David, arriving 3 hours late, could really care less about Maria. HIs family, in general, for that matter. Six weeks late to get his first draft of his 2nd book in, Maria makes the mistake of thinking this will be a fun trip for the two of them. Patient and kind, she urges David to eat dinner, chat with her and watch Wolf Blitzer on the television. David is not afraid to be the ignorant, rather cold young man he is, and continues to shun Maria in her ongoing attempts to connect with a relative whom she feels has traveled so many miles to visit her and her motherland.
As this 100 minute play progresses, we slowly begin to see just how heart breaking Maria’s life has been, and just how far she has gone to feel close to family in the USA. While David has moments that you think he may just have a heart, he somehow always rebounds back to his selfish ways and you begin to question your own motives; just how self-absorbed are you?? Do you put a sad face on your friends Facebook status then just move on with your day with no further empathy?
How far will you go to be compassionate, kind, before getting to your wit’s end? There are several layers to The Revisionist that gets you thinking and questioning.
For its strengths, there were moments that became a bit repetitive; some of the back and forth bantering could have been reduced. When there are run ins with Marias friend, a drunk cab driver named Zenon (Ilia Volok), much of the arguments are exchanged in Polish, and I felt that perhaps I could have been missing something of note to the plot, which, obviously, would be lost on me.
It is no surprise that Dunagan is a Tony award-winning performer. She knows just how much vulnerability to give to her Maria and when to take the performance to the next level. An effortless balance! Mulcahy expertly takes us very deep into the characters depths and emotions of self hate, insecurities and self-centered traits. A dead ringer for Eisenberg which is fitting as the playwright also originated the role of David.
Jesse Eisenberg’s The Revisionist plays at The Wallis Annenberg for the Arts in Beverly Hills through April 17th. Performances are selling out so get more information and book your tickets HERE! xo
(*Disclosure: I received media comps to attend this show on behalf of this review. All opinions are my own.)