by Ed Malin · October 19, 2014
In Cut!, Michael Almaz's play now appearing in the United Solo festival, Ian Watt singlehandedly impersonates amusingly decadent 1920s Hollywood.
Swankily dressed, shaven-headed and full of himself to the nth degree, the fictional artiste Posterkrantz finds that not everyone is as enthusiastic as he is about his next (and final) silent movie masterpiece. Slighted by history--indeed, not even credited for any of his contributions to the The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari--Posterkrantz perhaps may be forgiven for his belligerent efforts to finally leave his mark.
This piece is well acted. Watt's gestures and persona are as large as silent movies, only with the loud, somewhat affable "Tcherman" tones of a Hollywood impresario. He knows everybody, from Samuel Goldwyn (herein mockingly referred to by his original name "Goldfish") to Erich von Stroheim and Irving Thalberg, to his intimates like the movie star "Douglas". In public and in private, Posterkrantz slowly unravels. Fortunately, he doesn't have to do it alone. The other onstage presence is a cameraman dummy named Stonehouse. His silence throughout the piece tends to unhinge Posterkrantz even more, and to suggest that what Posterkrantz truly fears is the silent film industry. We all know that the days of silent films were numbered, but what does the future hold for Posterkrantz?
It is impressive and also scary to see how Israeli-born playwright Michael Almaz and Scottish performer Ian Watt have channeled the ghosts of Hollywood.