T he good news, for fans of genuine deserve-it A-list celebrities or more importantly simply good acting, is that Cate Blanchett is beyond terrific. Whimperingly, blisteringly terrific. She is a revelation, and those cynics who at times sniff at Hollywood stars bringing themselves into London's theatreland to hone their "real acting" kudos should sit down in front of this show, for the full three hours; and they would then stand and applaud. The bad news is that you would have to do that, just to see this tour de force from Ms Blanchett: sit in front of it, for three hours. It is not a bad play. I realise I am perhaps not selling it too well.
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Our guide is a lonely woman named Lotte who is a kind of contemporary Candide. The play is theoretically tantalizing, more interesting to contemplate than to experience and less adventurous than works by Mr. A major success in the playwright's native Germany, it has had a mixed reception in English-speaking countries. Christopher Martin, the director, translator and designer of the C.
Lotte is a sponge rather than a picaresque heroine. Persistently she sees the bright side of life even as those around her express their apathy. One might say that Lotte is out of touch with reality.
Her view is of other people's glass houses, and she throws no stones. With her face pressed against a window or her ear listening on an intercom, she remains an onlooker and an eavesdropper. She chats with anyone who crosses her path, but she is never able to become involved in a relationship.
From Saarbrucken to Essen, she reaches for human contact with friends, relatives and total strangers - she equates them all in her mind - and is greeted by a wall of blank stares. Wherever she turns, she finds a wrong number or busy signal.
People, including her estranged husband, are abstracted from her needs. They live in individual compartments, as symbolized by a man encased inside a tent in an unfurnished apartment. The world according to Lotte - and, by extension, the world according to the playwright - is a kind of trailer camp. Every unit is self-contained and no one connects. Repeatedly we feel that something unseen, and unforeseen, is happening off stage behind closed doors and drawn curtains. The scenes that we do see are neither big nor small.
They are ordinary and of varying dramatic interest. Delivering one of her several monologues, Lotte seems mundane. In other moments, her approach is so eccentric as to be amusing, as when she presses an entire keyboard of door buzzers looking for a school friend who may or may not recognize her existence. In an abbreviated version of the play several years ago at the Phoenix Theater, the role of Lotte was enacted by Barbara Barrie, and recently it was played in London by Glenda Jackson.
At the C. Though she ably communicates the character's cheerful disposition, which she retains even when she evolves into a bag lady, Miss Sunde has a limited range of expressions. Her performance could not accurately be described as virtuoso.
Helpful in a variety of smaller roles are such C. The C. For the current play, there is more stage space, an open playing field that is well suited to the wandering expansiveness of Mr. Strauss's episodic cavalcade. For all its moments of ennui, ''Big and Little'' does succeed in acting as a theatrical stimulant.
Having seen it, one will want to talk about it. Presented by City Stage Company, Mr. Martin, artistic director; Dan J. Martin, managing director. At East 13th Street. View on timesmachine. TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them.
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Big and Small – review
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Big and Small (Gross und Klein) - review
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Big and Small, Barbican Theatre
Our guide is a lonely woman named Lotte who is a kind of contemporary Candide. The play is theoretically tantalizing, more interesting to contemplate than to experience and less adventurous than works by Mr. A major success in the playwright's native Germany, it has had a mixed reception in English-speaking countries. Christopher Martin, the director, translator and designer of the C. Lotte is a sponge rather than a picaresque heroine.
Big and Little: Scenes
It follows a woman, Lotte, who travels through Germany and seeks human connections, but is unsuccessful as every person she encounters is locked into his own world. The play is a station drama in ten scenes. It was broadcast as a German television play in John Simon reviewed the play in New York in , when it was first performed in the United States: "The stultifying banality of the play is matched only by its arrogance—it is, for example, written in a pointless free verse that becomes even flatter in Anne Cattaneo's translation. The only thing big about Big and Little is its pretentiousness; everything else, except its length, is little.