By Elaine Liner
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
For those who know Curchack, it goes without saying that his use of puppets, light, and masks can indeed be magical and transforming. (Who would think one man could play Theseus, Hippolyta, Egeus, Hermia, Demetrius, Helena, Nick Bottom--described as "a weaver and ass-headed amateur actor"--Puck, Fairy, Oberon, and Titania!) The Titania mask is evocatively jeweled, and the lighting effects Curchack creates for her can only be compared to the Emerald City of Oz. He plays Hermia with a classically nasal New York accent, so she repeatedly calls for her love, Lysander, L-i-s-a-n-d-a-h.
Curchack plays the cast of thousands with self-referential humor and an unsurpassed manic energy. But his style is also very Punch and Judy, as his dolls and puppets make love and war on each other, and I easily grow weary of watching inanimate objects slam-dancing.
There are other moments in What Fools These Mortals Be--thankfully less frequent--when he rambles on about arts funding or comments about his age, even loses his train of thought. These excessive ad-libs and improvisations are one misstep away from humor or intrigue. They are the indulgences of a master who loves the stage and loves his art and doesn't know when to turn it off or turn it down. And while I approve of his decision not to allow for intermissions, he must then, in turn, perform as tightly as possible for a tiring audience.