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A Perfect Ganesh  

The dynamic cast can't save this poorly staged three-hour play

Wednesday, Mar 15 2006
A graceful god, with rotund belly and bejeweled elephant headdress, dances onstage as Indian music carries subtle incense on the air. This plump god is Ganesh, "queller of obstacles," inviting us to follow two women to Bombay. With a clap of Ganesh's hands, we're at the airport, where we meet the finicky Margaret and the spontaneous Katharine, a pair of well-to-do old friends about to discover they hardly know each other. Their turbulent journey reveals that Katharine is recovering from a loss (aided by self-help tapes), and is hoping India will heal her pain; Margaret is escaping heartbreak of her own. As the pair experience the heat and crowds, meet fellow travelers, and marvel at the country's beauty -- accompanied by the wise deity -- they reveal themselves for the first time. Free Range Theatre Company presents a cast with dynamic chemistry. David Klatt endears as Ganesh, despite his cumbersome, albeit lovely, costume. Elizabeth Benedict, as Katharine, provides an energy that improves the sluggish pacing of this tender play. Poor staging does the production a disservice, particularly when Dana Kelly (as a character called Man) is stuck in the aisle maneuvering puppets, and again when he's limited to displaying only the partial profile of a detailed mask. Ganesh develops drama slowly and bypasses several comedic opportunities, which were sorely missed in this three-hour version.

About The Author

Emily Forbes


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