A Singer's Notes by Keith Kibler

A Singer’s Notes 146: August Strindberg’s Creditors at Shakespeare and Company

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A Moment between Gustav (Jonathan Epstein) and Adolphe (Ryan Winkles) in Strindberg's Creditors. Photo Eloy Garcia.
A Moment between Gustav (Jonathan Epstein) and Adolphe (Ryan Winkles) in Strindberg’s Creditors. Photo Eloy Garcia.

The plays of August Strindberg that I know tend to reach their greatest intensity in the middle.  His plays crave engagement.  Energy is all.  This was shown deftly, powerfully in Shakespeare and Company’s production of Creditors.  Convincing performances were provided by Jonathan Epstein as Gustav, Ryan Winkles as Adolph, and Kristin Wold as Tekla.  As Gustav, Mr. Epstein was the mover and shaker.  He had been given the difficult task of showing a kind of hidden abuse in the guise of providing instruction in living to the young Adolph, Mr. Winkles.  Epstein brilliantly dissuaded the young artist not with complaint, but with energy.  Having completed his actorly task, he left Adolph a complete wreck.  Then the surprise.  Adolph’s crutches were thrown away, and in came Tekla, older than Adolph, but  loving him.  I believed in her sincerity, though many might not have.  Their moments together in the center of the play were intense and healing.  The suggestion that she had multiple companions lingered, but I believed her when she professed her love.  Their togetherness had a beautiful, treacherous balance between truth and sadness.  Kristin Wold was a kind of energy.  As Adolphe, Ryan Winkles was always convincing.

Nearing the end, Epstein as Gustav connected nearly with Tekla, who we learn was his former wife.  He tore into her with the most powerful methods on earth—first love, then scorn, then finally  abandonment.  Magically Epstein’s energy seemed unstoppable.  The play itself began to lose its will to continue.

Nicole Ricciardi’s direction brought us close to the shape and movement of the play.  Deborah Brothers’ costumes shone brightly.  All in all a first-rate production. 

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