The team of Director Robert Woodruff and actor Bill Camp
come to the Yale Rep every so often to present avant garde works which
challenge the whole structure of theater. Their latest project, “In a Yearwith 13 Moons” is their adaptation of a film and screenplay by
Rainer Werner Fassbinder, a German writer, who after making a name for himself,
died at the age of 37 from a heart attack.
There is nothing traditional in this two hour without
intermission melodramatic production that breaks down all walls. Nudity, sexual
abuse, prostitution and cruelty run rampant.
The busy stage set (David Zinn) is fitted with, among other things,
television screens running all the time, a large bed, a huge glass box framed by
neon lighting (Jennifer Tipton) and a massive garage door.
We meet the main character, Erwin, who is married to Irene,
the lovely Jacqueline Kim, and the father of a daughter, Marie-Ann (Mariko
Nakasone), after he has returned from a trip to Casablanca. There, we
understand, he fell in love with Anton
Saitz, the handsome Christopher Innvar, and has had a sex change so that he can
carry on a relationship with this successful, charismatic man. He is now
Elvira, replete with long wavy hair and boobs. Back home, wherever that is, his
boyfriend, Christoph, the frightening Babs Olusanmorkun, beats Elvira up, after
telling her she is fat and ugly, and leaves.
Now we follow Elvira, as she lives the last five days of her life; she
is accompanied by her/his friend, Red Zora, a young, petite prostitute who
keeps saving her life, played by Monica Santana.
It seems she/he met her wife at her first job in a slaughter
house, and revisits that blood-soaked place which boasts inventively stunning
staging: slim men coated in shiny red walk past dragging people with pigs
heads. He goes on to find Anton Saitz,
who does not recognize him/her and is not particularly happy to see either of
them. Anton is involved in doing a number from a Jerry Lewis /Dean Martin
movie. Finally Elvira cuts her hair, dresses like a man, and asks his wife to
take him back, but she refuses: It is too late.
As Elvira takes her own life, all the people who have touched him along
the way, circle his bed.
Camp certainly runs the gamut of emotions from A to Z. As
Elvira, he delivers self-indulgent long speeches much of which are difficult to
understand; the music, punctuated by loud gongs and drumming, is interesting
but obscures some of the dialogue. It is
hard to care about the mixed-up Erwin/ Elvira, when she does not care about
Watch out with the years containing 13 Moons! At Yale Rep
through May 18.