February 27, 2012


David Strathairn and BabakTafti. Photo: Kevin Berne


A NOTARY PUBLIC is taking care of a mother’s last will and testament and the Notary has you guessing till the end. There is a twist at the Legal office. The Mother’s twins, Simon and Janine journey to a war-torn ravaged country in pursuit of their origins – but they must do a lot of searching, before they can open their mother’s will.

The play at A.C.T. is a little long, but it does keep you from falling asleep. This stage production just might be the most intriguing Theatre this season.

Seasoned actor David Strathairn is the only light moments in this heavy-duty play. He’s a Notary Public (some states or countries) have different rules. In this case The Notary (David Strathairn) in this role (he plays other characters) – is just the most amusing Notary that you will ever see and hear. Strathairn talks in “New Version English” – his mixed up sentences will certainly keep you interested throughout the play. Here’s one of his new versions that he has changed: Notary: The real saying: “The Light in the Tunnel.” His version is: “Train at the End of the Tunnel.”  Hilarious! Much like I write.

This play is loaded with secrets and silence. A woman tells this strange and mystifying story. And she takes us on an adventure like you’ve never seen before. This shocking, complex story is a little difficult to follow. There is so much going on as the locations shift from one country to another. Place and time plays with your mind – but you will not stray from the hypnotic stories about war-torn countries. Prepare for cruelty, death, love, hate, and some kindness. Not a lot of kindness – but some.

The story is about a teenager who is pregnant out of wedlock. She is forced to give up her baby boy. She practically crawls across a burned village landscape to find her son. This is an explosive Greek tragedy that brings to mind present day in Syria, Libya and other, middle-eastern countries.

The Direction by Carey Perloff,  is fantastic.  She brings us right into Middle Eastern classic violence. You’ll gasp – you’ll get involved and most of all you will be mesmerized with this suspenseful story.

There are two twins (Annie Purcell and Babak Tafti) that will fascinate you as they  stare at the strange and humorous Notary Public. But the Twins just fix their eyes on the perplexed Notary Public. He talks – they just look like they are in shock. Can they believe him? Here’s the deal. This is a play that feels both timeless and up-to-the-minute. It’s an exhilarating production. The sets alone are a marvel to watch. It will keep you guessing to the end. And there were some surprising wonderful surprising musical moments.

NOW PLAYING AT A.C.T. (Geary Theatre)

RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating) –trademarked-

 (((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he also produced and hosted a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED)))

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