It’s hard to know how to look at Stefan Golaszewski is a Widower. Is it a comedy? A drama? A romance? And how serious should one take it? The play’s one character carries the same name as the actor who plays him, so of course one must question how much of a character is being played. And the play also hinges on a weak gimmick: it’s set in the year 2056.
Golaszewski lost his beloved wife of over forty years and is remembering his life with her. His stories bounce around linear time, focusing on all of the warm moments in the beginning and showing how dark and co-dependant the marriage becomes in the end.
The idea is a good one, even if it isn’t wholly original. Most ‘romantic’ stories focus on the chase rather than the triumphs and difficulties of an actual relationship. However, the gimmick of setting the action in the future is a major drawback. The only function the future has is for comedic purposes, and those laughs get in the way of some rather human moments. And as the play goes on, the mentions of life in the ‘future’ become more annoying than humorous.
However, it isn’t all bad. Golaszewski is a very good performer. He has excellent stage presence and is able to tell a fairly compelling tale. He is funny and heartbreaking when he needs to be. However, as much as I liked Golaszewski the performer, I found Golaszewski the writer to be lacking. His lines are very clever and well written, but the script as a whole doesn’t quite hold dramatic water.
Stefan Golaszewski is a Widower is a good vehicle for a talented performer. But with a weak script and a time idea that works in concept but not in practice, the play feels like a large missed opportunity somewhat rescued by a polished and impassioned performance.
Performing on the Traverse 2 at alternating times. For correct dates and times, please look up the Traverse’s website or brochure.
Filed under: Edinburgh Festival 2009 |