Fancy 'The Crackpots' from Synetic; Dancing, Mime Aid Comedic Portrayals

Article excerpt

Byline: Jayne Blanchard, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Winter's icy streets and whipping winds make lummoxes of us all, but you'll really feel like a clodhopper after taking in the arrowy grace of the performers in Synetic Theater's production of "The Crackpots," a world premiere stage adaptation of the 1973 Soviet film, "Sherekelebi."

Using balletic movement and mime techniques, the supple cast seems to effortlessly portray everything from farm crops to chickens and a cinematic array of human characters. Their movements are so cleanly etched and precise that dialogue sometimes seems superfluous.

"The Crackpots" is written and directed by renowned Georgian director Rezo Gabriadze and is a fantastical allegory about liberation and realizing your dreams - no matter how absurd they may seem. When the movie was made, it carried a political message about personal freedom that peeped through the crazy antics and double entendres.

It is a picaresque tale of a young man, Ertaoz (Greg Marzullo), a bumpkin in a polka-dot shirt, whose life goes from idyllic to difficult after the death of his father. Determined to repay his father's numerous debts, Ertaoz travels to the big city. He promptly falls in love with the delectably flirty Margarita (Catherine Gasta), who is happily married but still not above whooping it up with the men seeking her favors. One of the enamored is Khura (Irakli Kavsadze), the police chief, whose goose-stepping and widely mustachioed goofy grin is a silent movie in itself - one conceivably starring Charlie Chaplin.

Khura may be a comic figure, but he is dead serious about Margarita. When Ertaoz's proclamations of love land him in prison, he meets fellow inmate Kristefore (Paata Tsikurishvili), who is serving a 48-year sentence for the same crime of adoring a beautiful woman. The philosophical scientist has used his time wisely - inventing a "giant hen" that flies.

The two men escape prison, only to be recaptured by a local doctor (Nathan Weinberger), who places them in an asylum where he can better study their insanity. …