The 1961 play’s timeless theme and satirical treatment of the ethics and responsibility of scientists still leaves an impact, but as it ages the distance between farce and the inquiry into metaphysical contradictions and their solutions widens, and we no longer have great play or dialectical insight.
Complicating that is Ye’ela Rosenfeld’s treatment here is far too self-important, and the staging is simply too labored, with some excruciatingly long pauses that make some scenes downright interminable (the play runs almost 2 hours). This is supposed to be a funny, fast-paced play, and when I saw it the house was nearly full yet still quiet. Additionally, even with some very capable actors, the tone was all over the map and the physical humor sloppy (glass props fell over more than once); I couldn’t figure out the characterizations, which resided somewhere between farce and sensible with some a bit amateurish. And why are there three doors onstage through which no actors ever walked? It was great to have that terrific 3-member band, and many props and costumes, and the second act (which was mostly made of the 3 physicists in a sanatorium) was much better-paced, but this is one of those Fringe projects which sadly bit off more than it could chew.