Heavenly trip

New Theatre Company fires a stunning Rocket to the Moon

Rocket to the Moon belongs to the male characters, and Taylor and Jorgensen balance humor, anger, and sadness in expert proportions. The interactions between the unrepentant elderly capitalist and the rather meek member of the bourgeoisie retain the original flavor of Odets' anti-materialist rants. Without mannerism or sentiment, Taylor effortlessly conjures a man many decades older than himself; Jorgensen uses smiles and small, tentative laughs to construct a man who has never stopped long enough to decide what he really wants out of life.

A playwright like Clifford Odets, one so stubbornly preoccupied with the struggles of his time and place, presents a challenge to revivalists, and calls into question the whole debate about what constitutes a classic. There's no question that Odets enjoyed huge success as a playwright in his own lifetime, and managed to do so while discussing the American poverty of mind and spirit that broke his heart. Director Bruce Coleman and New Theatre Company have jettisoned the strident leftist rhetoric, but retained what made it fresh and compelling for audiences six decades ago--that mournful, broken heart of Odets. Stripped down and concerned with characterization for its own sake, Rocket to the Moon is more revolutionary now than it ever had a right to be.

Rocket to the Moon runs through September 21. Call 871-

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