By Admin | January 25, 2005

In a well-furnished house, beautifully lit and tastefully designed, a marriage crumbles. There’s no melodrama and no overacting, no yelling between parties about who will get what and how much one person has ruined the other. It just happens, spurred on by a dream Marta (Dona Croll) had, where she found out that she was the queen of an African tribe, only to be shat on by an elephant during the course of her rule.

Her husband, Hubert (George Harris) is mildly amused by her subconscious tale, but is somewhat distant from her and Marta feels that all too painfully. She realizes she can’t reach him any further, and requests the only reasonable course of action: A divorce. It’s not a battle of wills here, but a quiet piece that successfully exhibits the ways of some marriages. For Marta, who wants to find her own way out in the world, traveling some, and living even more, it’s a bit more troublesome as Hubert is in some sort of high-profile position, indicated by his objection over this matter because of upcoming elections. What she does at the end is frustrating for us, but understandable due to where she is, and what she has become, through what he is. She’s able to live in a rich lifestyle, able to enjoy many different comforts easily. Dona Croll and George Harris have their roles down pat. Croll, only known in the U.K. but very welcome here, understands the subtleties of performance quite easily, knowing that emotion can be brought about by simple facial _expression that brings along much pain without stabbing home the point, and it’s a credit to Kara Miller’s work that she’s able to bring this through effectively. Harris, who also has had some time in Britain, understands this as well and brings it home easily.

What we have here then is a story of a dying marriage and there are many of those, but one that sees the people first. Through a lack of cloying music too, “Elephant Palm Tree” knows where the performances really are.

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