Theatre Review: The Swan

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What if a huge bird crashed into a plate glass window at your home, and was lying there, injured? You’d probably call a vet. 

“Hello, this is Dora Hand. I would like to leave a message for Dr. Crawley. Yes, I am the lady with the swan. Yes, the swan. And I’m a little concerned.”

And what would you do if that big bird suddenly stood, and miraculously assumed the form of a handsome unclothed young man, with a few feathers dropping from his shoulders. 

“ (Honk Honk.) Lillian, I’ll call you back… (Honk) … Stay there… (Honk)…” 

Amazing things happen to ordinary people in this play, which sets up punchy, contemporary farce right alongside a primal story straight out of Greek myth. Specifically, it’s a tale about a beautiful woman drawn into an intimate relationship with a swan, an image that’s been adapted by painters, sculptors, and poets for centuries. 

In this very American version,  the kooky physical comedy opens out into mystical, and sometimes unsettling transformations. The set is littered with everyday items like takeout pizza in a cardboard box, but the story moves into the sad desperation of this migratory bird that’s somehow in a man’s wingless body. So if you’re looking for something unusual to flex your dramatic sensibilities, “The Swan” gives you lots to think about.

"The Swan' plays through May 17th at the B Street Theatre in Sacramento.