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"After the Rain"

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A hapless group calling itself Red hudson Company dug up a Spanish play, After the Rain, by one Sergi Belbel, which won the Molière award for best comedy in France last year and garnered good notices when Ireland's Gate Theatre presented it in London. The play, or at any rate its first act, is about as empty, derivative and witless as any I've seen, and I have seen plenty.

Taking place in the near future, it tells of office workers who come to the roof of an 89-story building to smoke clandestinely, indulge in idiotic office chitchat, and plot pathetic intrigues. It is tarted up with shopworn absurdism, as when a moronic computer programmer jumps off that roof only to reappear without explanation to continue being moronic. The acting is rudimentary; the staging, if possible, worse.

That such unspeakable trash gets an award for something other than imbecility only corroborates the great saying of the Austrian playwright Ödön von Horváth: "Nothing so conveys a sense of the infinite as human stupidity."


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