It is no secret that John Malkovitch is a strange man. And a talented actor. When my friend asked me to join her to see a performance called the Infernal Comedy Confessions of a Serial Killer starring John Malkovitch at BAM in Brooklyn, I said absolutely, yes. It was to be staged in the Howard Gillman Opera House, so I knew it would be an opera. Would he sing?! What was this going to be? As it turns out, this is a TRUE story.
The curtains opened to a full orchestra. Enter John Malkovitch as Austrian Serial Killer Jack Unterweger. Imagine John Malkovitch’s interesting speech pattern with an Austrian accent. Hmmm. Unterweger begins in a comedic monologue. There are two opera singers on stage, one representing his mother and the other his lover(s). As his story unfolds, the women perform classic arias expressing their emotions while Unterweger unravels before your eyes. Please note the arias are actually translated like ticker tapes above the stage! So weird. The scenes become increasingly more creepy, with reenactments of him choking women with their bras. By the end, he creates an elaborate rope maze from which he intends to hang himself. Coincidentally, by this time in the performance I am having similar inclination.
This was truly one of the most awful performances I have ever endured. As an actor, this is only a choice a guy like John Malkovitch would make. And he’s likely the only one talented enough to pull it off. What a totally bizarre story, concept and execution. The idea, apparently, was to combine the potency of powerful music with dangerous emotions. The result was a real fucking snoozer. The guy behind us was snoring and my friend Paula was having a tough time staying awake as well. The comedic relief was when I went to the Ladies room in the dead silence of the opera house and the toilet lever got stuck. It made a deafeningly loud endless whooshing sound. It persisted while I kicked at the lever. My only option was to bail and close the two doors to the bathroom on my way out so it couldn’t be heard in the theater. It was one of those moments when you want to have a fit of uncontrollable laughter at an inappropriate moment.
Dear God, if you have tickets, don’t go. If this made you in any way curious, there is actually a film clip if you follow this link.
And since I wrote this review, this Associated Press Review came out. So it isn’t just me, it was ‘creepy’.
Steve had bought tickets to see the Alexis P. Sutter Band. This woman is truly a powerful vocalist. She played tonight at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center and we didn’t go. Check this out and check her out if you get a chance. She’s local.
BAM – Brooklyn Academy of Music
30 Lafayette Avenue – Fort Greene, Brooklyn