On Speech and Speechlessness

UW Drama's Pentecost is a multi-lingual brain fest

By Chloe Lathe


Pentecost. At first it seems like a show about a fresco and the two people who find it, but later the audience is immersed in the social and cultural tensions of war torn central European countries. After leaving the show, I was left speechless, not necessarily because of the script or the actors alone, but because of the complex nature of the issues within the show.

Many of the actors stand out. Brian Culbertson as Mikhail Czaba and Sunam Ellis as Yasmin come to mind for their engaging acting, especially keeping track of multiple languages and maintaining an accent the entire time in an understandable and engaging way. They also express the theme of being people from war torn countries and dealing with the repercussions of war. These two actors paint a clear picture for the audience through their portrayals of the characters.

Yesenia Inglesias (Tunu) also proves to be an outstanding actor; she tells the story of the Ramayana in a completely different language and still conveys the story. On the flip side, the actors speak in a myriad of accents and languages that makes it difficult to always follow what is going on. The accents sometimes cloud the lines and monologues presented in foreign languages tend towards frustrating.

Also, scattered thorough this three hour long show are some slow scenes that make the play even longer. The first act seems to drag on, with lots of scenes that are slow and reminiscent of a ping-pong table, just two actors spitting lines at each other. Other scenes are unnecessarily awkward and slow, because many lines cannot be understood or heard and do not seem to add to the plot.

However, the play picks up after intermission. It gets livelier and has more characters to fall in love with. There is more conflict that the audience cares about and, by the end of the show, the new cast of characters has made up for the slow beginning. All in all, the show is worth seeing if you are looking forward to a night of thinking.

UW School of Drama Playhouse
Through March 3

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