Reviewed by Rajka Stefanovska, Ottawa, June 23, 2011
Ken Wilson’s play “The Interview” is a witty, funny, entertaining comedy that also explores the complete alienation and lack of real communication in the modern world. The actors, well suited to their roles, take us successfully on a journey through the mind’s maze, showing how it functions, person-to-person, moment-to-moment. This is a very well executed comedy. The simple set underlines the excellent acting by the three protagonists, especially that of Dan Baran in the very demanding role of Mr. Anderson.
The plot takes place in an interview room at the police station where two police officers are trying to find out the facts behind the suspicious death of a retirement home resident. The only possible witness – maybe even the culprit – is Mr Anderson, the dead man’s roommate. The interview takes hours – to no avail. The reason – Mr. Anderson is rather senile, and his lucid moments are pretty rare. Even when it seems that he regains his memory, things somehow go awry.
The old man’s confusing narrative makes the inspectors lose both their patience and their minds. Their anger, combined with the old man’s wandering stream of thoughts, enthrals the audience. As the interrogation, or – as the officers insist – the interview unfolds, we get more and more acquainted with Mr. Anderson’s reality which is a mix of his memories and his fantasies. Through this funny mixture, the other side of a somewhat sad reality emerges. As Mr. Anderson tells us, his parents never listened to him, his children hardly keep in touch, and the personnel in his retirement home did not even listen to his complains about the choice of roommate. Evidently, his luck is no better with detectives either! While he wants to tell them his story, they, wrapped in their own world and focused solely on the task, do not listen. This miscommunication creates hilarious moments, which the audience rewards with bursts of laughter. Still, in the midst of all the fun, one cannot help feeling a little bit of a bitter taste in-between the funny lines. For, are we really so blind and deaf to each other that we are destined to live alone in the midst of crowds? This is the question the play ultimately explores, prompting a baited breath in between the laughter.