The Illusion
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo provided by Cinnabar Theater

Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma takes you on a comic journey of ironic mythical proportions, which literally transports you to another world. Good drama can be a lot of things, but when it can whirl you away from your daily cares into a fantasy that delights you at every turn, well, thatís entertainment.

The Illusion is a lively blend of comic surprises that melds the 1630s with 2004. Tony Kushner, who gave us the Broadway hit (recently made for HBO) Angels in America, freely adapted French playwright Pierre Corneilleís play L Illusion Comique into this current production. Writing in the 1600s, Corneille was best known for Le Cid, but his earlier comedies are a wonderful blend of wit and fantasy and Kushnerís adaptation is marvelous in the capable hands of Cinnabarís thespians.

Imagine the cave of the magician Alcandre (Nancy Prebilich) many centuries ago near a small town in the South of France. Pridamont (Arte L. Whyte), an aging father, suddenly regrets that he banished his freethinking son years ago from the family home. As a last resort for reconciliation he seeks out the magicianís powers to hopefully locate his son for him.

When Alcandre shows Pridamont excerpts from his son Calistoís (Nicholas Pelczar) life, the father is at first disturbed by certain inconsistencies like changes in his sonís name and circumstances, but eventually he gets caught up in the unfolding drama that his flesh and blood is a part of. The audience too is caught up in the comic illusion of a drama within a drama. But how deeply woven this illusion is will only reveal itself in the end with a cathartic laugh from everyone but the father.

Yet something in the drama itself moves Pridamont to a long lost emotion that breaths hope into characters and audience alike.

This production is full of surprises and a rich satisfying humor. For tickets or more information call (707) 763-8920 or visit www.cinnabartheater.org.

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