BWW Review: THE PRINCES OF KINGS ROAD - An Intriguing Destination for Deep Discoveries
THE PRINCES OF KINGS ROAD/written & directed by Tom Lazarus/Neutra Institute and Museum of Silverlake/thru October 4, 2015
EST/LA's world premiere of playwright Tom Lazarus' THE PRINCES OF KINGS ROAD succeeds as an involving, albeit slow moving, character study of three very interesting characters. Set in a Los Angeles two-bed hospital room back in 1953, Nurse Rothstein caters to the needs of patient Rudolph Schindler. Not until the arrival of the second bed occupant Richard Neutra, does the nurse really get to know Schindler's back story. Seems these two estranged men were architects and once business partners over twenty years ago.
Feeling like a prisoner to his hospital room, Schindler has turned into a testy curmudgeon. But with the addition of Neutra, Schindler opens up revealing the charm and charisma he must have made full use of in his younger sexual conquests. John Nielsen easily evokes all of Schindler's various emotions and attributes, bottled up and rejuvenated. Ray Xifo deftly telegraphs Neutra's total joy in re-uniting with his old friend. How interesting that Neutra, the more technical and practical partner in their architect business morphed into the more emotionally open person of the two. The now introspective Schindler once was the more adventurous, inspirational dreamer of the partnership. Unfortunately, Schindler couldn't always follow through without Neutra. And then there were all the client's wives he bedded with "his Achille's schlong."
Heather Robinson adeptly portrays the many sides of Nurse Rothstein, objectively professional, but with enough human concern and compassion for her charges. Unsure of why Nurse Rothstein caresses the sleeping Schindler's hand in a later scene.
Playwright Lazarus directs his talented cast utilizing abrupt blackouts for some scene changes and soothing musical interludes for others. At times, Lazurus allows Nielsen and Xifo's heavy Austrian accents, though consistent, to get in the way of understanding complete ideas.
Effective use of slides illustrating the various buildings these real-life architects were referring to. Although the purpose of the succession of blurry images seem unexplained. Hopefully, the unfocused slides were just an opening night blip.