by Olivier Cadiot
Dir. by Marion Schoevaert
59E59 Theaters, 2005
A.W.O.L. is based on Cadiot's funny and refreshingly un-ironic novel, Le Colonel des Zouaves, about a butler driven mad by his work. This “Americanized” production begins on the streets of downtown NYC as a beggar-poet begins his transformation from homeless to manservant to spy to colonel to American hero, witnessed, even taunted, by an operatic chorus of anonymous Wall Street businessmen. It is the rise to power of a crazy man in a world gone mad.
"Anna Kiraly's set design is simplicity itself: The floor is painted white and the walls are black. The playing area is empty save for a batch of flattened cardboard boxes and a clear garbage bag filled with soda cans, which the main character carries around with him. Director Marion Schoevaert always uses the set creatively, and the production is further enhanced by Adam Silverman's wily music for the chorus, part opera and part Dada. You won't find many other theater pieces in New York that are as challenging as A.W.O.L. -- and that's a shame."