“Prussia: 1866” The Fact of Fiction Wrapped Into a Grenade of Chaos

10469059_10153061391359464_4760172526234152281_nThe Rep, a professional theater portion of Point Park University, welcomed the world premier of Gab Cody’s newest creation, “Prussia: 1866”, a farce that places a young Friedrich Nietzsche (Drew Palajsa) in the middle of a torrid love triangle with his mentor, Heinrich Von Klamp (Philip Winters), and his wife, Mariska Von Klamp (Laura Lee Brautigam).

The play, while 100% fictional, uses Nietzsche as the catalyst for the play, as he was 22 in 1866 and living in Prussia. The actual area of Prussia no longer exists, and according to Cody, it provided the best setting for a farce.

Throughout both acts, a simple, yet intricate storyline proceeds, breaking down social cues, and addressing the sense of anarchy that had to take place in order for women to step up and take their rightful place in the world. Overall empowered, but heavily denigrated, the women of the house truly run the show, even if shunned by the light of a visceral male superego.

The slapstick element of the show, an essential ebb and flow, balances the infinite wisdom, as not to drown the audience with a manifesto of the bumbling male and power-starved female.

The schtick is received well by the crowd, erupting in jaunting laughter. In Act II, the fabric of the alchemy breaks down into a looting of sensible actions, as a full-fledged mêlée ensues with veracious and precocious intentions. Overall, the play was entertaining and frightfully witty; interlacing feminism, chauvinism, and hedonism into a crafty and sensible production that digests well.

There’s some full frontal male nudity, with accompanied jiggles, so that may or may not digest well for you. As I learned the hard way, seat selection is key. Perhaps a pun was intended. *Reread*

Drew Palajsa who played Nietzsche, delivered a solid performance, seamlessly showing the sourpuss angst and nancy pants nature of his existence. Driven by love, his expressions are best betrothed through the written word. Naive in spirit, and actions, Palajsa creatively showcases why the early twenties, are the early twenties.

Gab Cody as Rosemary is rock solid. Her character’s steadfast determination to liberate the fairer sex, while struggling for her independence, illuminated the utilitarian undertone of the play, and added a sense of misaligned power. It was hard not to root for her catharsis. Her German accent was also quite {fantaschtic}.

Under the direction of Kim Martin, the misfit cast craftily executes a raucous comedy that engages the funny bone, as well as the philosophical one. The holy trinity of female roles gives a bird’s-eye view of the submissive, manipulative, and dominate personalities and how they intertwine within the massively archaic social system of our past.

Love it or hate it, “Prussia: 1866” is a farce with some serious soul.

“Prussia: 1866” runs through February 22nd. For ticket and showtime information, visit pittsburghplayhouse.com

For a full cast list, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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